Concord church marks 25 years of highway cleanup

Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Concord planned Aug. 23 to celebrate the congregation’s 25 years in the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

The group was slated to clean up along historic Union Street South in Concord at 8:30 a.m., then make its way to the church for a reception, according to church member Jeanne Dixon, leader of the congregation’s Christian Education Department.

The Adopt-A-Highway program, which has existed statewide for 26 years, has been an integral part of the church’s community service and is one that members look forward to, Dixon said.

Every four months, a group from the church picks up litter along its stretch of highway.

In 1989, the youth program at Price Memorial adopted the portion of road as “part of ministry in the community and service,” said Dixon.

Although the church is smaller now, with 45 members, it maintains a strong tradition of service to the area. The church serves as a meeting place for the local chapter of the NAACP, hosts a Girl Scouts troop, and supports the Mothers and Children Housing ministry, according to Dixon.

The church is also politically active, with two Concord City Council members in the congregation, including Ella Mae Small, the city’s first female African-American City Council member in Concord.

During the civil rights movement, the church was a meeting spot and promoted participation in the movement among people throughout the community.

“We are being an example of service through a holistic approach,” Dixon said in reference to the types of service the church does. The outreach is a way for youths and adults to get involved in the community and “gives a sense of purpose and a sense of unity.”

Dixon said she hopes Price Memorial’s 25 years of service with the Adopt-A-Highway program will encourage other churches and other faiths to do the same with their communities.