By Valerie Baldowski
Light Of The World Christian Tabernacle International is preparing to mark an historic event in style.
Sunday, the Stockbridge church will have a Pre-Inaugural Ball to celebrate the swearing-in of Barack Obama. Obama, the 44th president of the United States, will take the oath of office Jan. 20 in Washington.
Billed as "a celebration of history," the free, formal, black-tie event begins at 6 p.m., at the church, located at 5883 Georgia Highway 155 North.
Nattlie Ringer, a member of the church, says plans for the event came together six weeks ago. She says the concept for the church's ball came about through an idea by the bishop, Dr. Ruth W. Smith.
Dr. Smith heard about a number of Obama supporters who were unable to attend the ceremonies in Washington because they could not afford a ticket, or did not have time to attend.
Organizers of the event created a star-studded atmosphere by converting the church sanctuary into a ballroom. A red carpet was placed from the doorway leading into the room, and a professional photographer will be on hand to take photos of the attendees as they enter and walk down the carpet. Guest are scheduled to be announced as they arrive, said Ringer.
A white-gloved wait staff will serve hors d'oeuvres, and catering will be provided by Gloria's Events Inc. There will also be a band, dancing, and a tribute to Obama.
Attendance is expected to be strong, says Ringer. "We are expecting about 500 guests," she says. "It's first-class, very upscale."
In addition to honoring President-elect Obama, the ball will also remember several key individuals of the church.
Ringer says there will be a tribute to Dr. Smith, the church's first female bishop, and the church's elder and executive pastor, Atty. R. David Ware. There will also be a memorial service to honor the church's founder, the late Archbishop Jimmie Lee Smith.