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Clayton clergy to honor local leaders

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Three groups of Clayton County clergy will come together this weekend to honor and celebrate outstanding individuals working to make the county a better place to live.

The first-ever Coalition of Clayton County Clergy Community Awards Banquet will take place this Saturday, starting at 7 p.m., at the Clayton State University Student Activity Center.

The Coalition of Clayton County Clergy includes members of the Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County, the Clayton County Ministers' Conference, and the Forest Park Ministers Association.

According to Mike Glanton, co-founder of the coalition and president of the Clayton County Minister's conference, Saturday will serve as the coalition's first collaborative, annual event. "We all have our own events annually, but this is the first time we have come together," Glanton said. "Because of all the negative attention we've received here in Clayton County from around the state, we decided that we wanted to paint the picture of the Clayton County we live in.

"In order to do that," he said, "we understood that we needed to come together to present to the rest of the state, who we really are ... we wanted to recognize individuals from every corner of this community who are already contributing to the effort to make Clayton County a great community."

According to Myron Deas, chairman of the awards banquet committee and pastor of Mathalama African Methodist Episcopal Church in Morrow, the event will recognize leaders in the fields of government, education, business, non-profit organizations, and religion, as well notable community activists.

"We just saw a need for us to come together as a religious organization and support those who go above and beyond to try to improve our community," Deas said. "We wanted to recognize those leaders whose work sometimes goes unnoticed. There are going to be government officials, there is going to be a local entrepreneur, there is a particular nonprofit that is working with families, as well as those who are active in the community."

Deas said the event will feature a five-course meal, as well as a 30-minute set by jazz saxophonist Antonio Allen. The cost of the banquet is $50 per person, according to Deas. "I hope that it will bridge the gap between the religious, political, and business fields, and show that we can work together to better Clayton County," he said.

Glanton said he hopes the banquet will display the good taking place in Clayton County and encourage those within the county to do better. "I hope that this will not only represent who we really are in Clayton County, but it will represent the beginning of a unity in Clayton County that is unbreakable," Glanton said. "We realize that it is our responsibility to not only change the image that the world sees, but impress upon our residents the potential we possess as a community, if we come together and work as a team."

The doors will open for the event at 6:30 p.m., on Saturday. The Student Activity Center is located on the campus of Clayton State University, at 2000 Clayton State Blvd., in Morrow. For ticket information, contact Ann Almond at (404) 207-3817, or e-mail claytonministers@yahoo.com.