Posted by: Admin on Tue, Jul 1, 2003
Over 300 persons attended the 100th Birthday Celebration for former pastor, Rev. Dr. Marion O. Ballard on Sunday, June 29, 2003, at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, 5620 Wyalusing Avenue, in West Philadelphia.
Rev. Dr. Ballard, who was resplendent in a navy blue pin-striped suit, starched white shirt, red and blue silk tie, and spit-shined black shoes, arrived at the church early where he greeted a few guests before the start of the special service. The service included greetings from the Lay Leader, William Rivers, a medley of Dr. Ballard’s favorite hymns song by the Senior Choir, the Occasion by Michelle Flamer, Esq., the reading of greetings and Citations from Bishop Peter Weaver and Dr. Dorothy Watson Tatem of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC), President of the United States and Mrs. George Bush, the U.S. House of Representatives by Hon. Chaka Fattah, the City Council of Philadelphia by Hon. Michael Nutter, Dr. Mary White of the Harry Hosier District and from Camphor Memorial UMC by Rev. Gary Meekins, Sr. Pastor, and Edward Hale, Chairman of Trustees.
A plaque was presented from a delegation of members of Simpson Fletcher UMC where Rev. Dr. Ballard has been a member since retiring from active ministry in 1976. Special guests, Rev. David Briddell, Rev. Claude Edmonds, and Rev. Frank Tyson gave birthday reflections and tributes. Rev. Meekins delivered the sermon in which he recalled the great ministry of Rev. Dr. Ballard who is known among clergy as the “Prince of Preachers” who has mentored many pastors in the former Delaware Annual Conference and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. At the conclusion of the worship service, Rev. Dr. Ballard, rose to make remarks and give the benediction. The crowd in the sanctuary became very still and hushed as Rev. Dr. Ballard quietly and eloquently thanked Almighty God for his many years and all his blessings and recalled the joy of his long ministry of love and service.
During the reception after the worship service, Rev. Dr. Ballard and guests were served a sumptuous five-layer birthday cake especially baked and decorated by sisters, Paula, Jean and Janice Davenport, tea sandwiches by Chef Gerard, and beverages catered by sisters, Jean Myers and Veronica Williams.
Guests included Lenore Thompson, Lay Leader of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, Dr. William Staton, District Superintendent of the Hosier District, EPC, as well as friends and representatives from numerous churches including Eastwick UMC, Calvary UMC, Wharton Wesley UMC, Sayre UMC, Jaynes Memorial UMC, Mother Zoar UMC, and a large delegation that included Judge Levan Gordon from Tindley Temple United Methodist Church where Rev. Dr. Ballard was a former pastor for eleven years. A “Celebration Book” of cards, notes, photographs, greetings, letters, citations, resolutions, telegrams, emails, program, invitations, and other documents was presented to Rev. Dr. Ballard as a memento of the occasion by the planning committee: Rev. Meekins, Kit Boyd, Carol Black, Joy Flynn, Michelle Flamer, Eva Harris and Yvonne Hooks.
Rev. Ballard, who was born June 22, 1903, at Deals Island, MD, began his ministry in Eastern Shore, MD, serving churches in Fairlee, Millington, and Berlin, MD and Nassau. DE, that were part of the former Delaware Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He soon became well known for his Biblical scholarship, brilliant sermons and excellent church management. In 1945, Rev. Ballard was appointed pastor to Mother Zoar Methodist Church in Philadelphia where he served for eight years before ascending to District Superintendent of the Dover District of the Delaware Conference. In 1959, Rev. Ballard was appointed to Camphor Memorial Methodist Church where membership soared to nearly 1000 persons under his leadership. Rev. Ballard was appointed to Tindley Temple Methodist Church in 1965 where he served 11 years. He retired from full time ministry in 1976.
Rev. Ballard received the B.D. from Gammon Theological Seminary in 1931 and the B.Th from Central University in 1935. In 1971, he received the D.D. degree from Albright University. Rev. Ballard had been married to Clara Ballard for 67 years at the time of her death in 1997.
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