This post continues my posts describing our family vacation from August 1- 7, 2009.
On our last day in Talladega during our family vacation back in August, we also took some time to visit the church of Kalonji’s great-grandfather, Champ McClellan. Champ was a minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church and his daughter, Kalonji’s grandmother, is still an active member there.
The church is located one block away from the family homes on the street named after Champ, McClellan Avenue. I’d originally wanted to go take a few pictures, but we decided to go inside and see if we could look around. We were met by a lady named Helen who was nice enough to show us around. How fortunate for us because she knows Kalonji’s grandmother well and had nothing but great things to say about Mama Frances.
This particular building was not the original from when Champ ministered there, but we went into the main chapel area where the choir was rehearsing – they were preparing for homecoming weekend.
As Helen showed us around, she also pointed out the markers dedicated to Champ. His name appears in the foyer on a photo montage of church members, upon which is a list of pastors. Champ is listed as the 2nd pastor, having served in 1919.
I know from census records that in 1920 Champ was a student at Selma University in Selma, Alabama. Prior to 1919, Champ served as an assistant pastor with one of the Alabama regiments fighting in World War I. Guess religion was always in his blood!
Champ would continue to be an active member of the church when he returned back home to Talladega. When he died, his funeral services were conducted there and he was buried in the nearby Knox Cemetery (aka McClellan Cemetery) which I posted about previously.