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"For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
As always stated; “I’m still on the waiting list”, in the comfort of her home, Mother Alta Mae (Weldon) Townsend peacefully found rest just beyond the river January 12, 2022 at 3pm. Born June 25, 1926 in Whitakers NC to the union of the late Eddie Frank Weldon and Mamie Bryant Weldon. Mother Townsend was one of four girls and the second youngest of six children born to this union. During these times, early education often had taken place in various settings; such as the barn, church, home, or in the fields where livestock grazed and crops were grown. As a survivor of the “Great Depression”, she attended O.R. Pope Elementary School and later, on to Booker T. Washington High School until there was a need to help support the family’s infrastructure; she placed her education on hold, picking cotton, cucumbers, and working in the tobacco fields; these were common jobs not requiring education. Having a desire for a better life and her footsteps being ordered by GOD, she began her pilgrimage North settling in Newport News VA with her sisters. Greater opportunity during a period between 1916 to 1970 in which millions of African Americans migrated from the South to the North to flee the economic exploitation that accompanied life as a Southern sharecropper or tenant farmer, as well as violent and pervasive racism. They sought well-paying industrial jobs left vacant in the wake of World War I, which cut off cheap immigrant labor from Europe and induced white American laborers to join the armed forces. More than 175,000 African Americans settled in Harlem alone. Bright lights, night life and other attractions also drew Mother Townsend further North to (Harlem) New York City. Working in the Textile Industry, she later met a dashing young gentleman by the name of Cicero Lancaster and a child (Brenda Patricia Lancaster) would be born unto them; time would bring about a change and she would later marry James A. Townsend. The lights had gotten even brighter on a Saturday night while enjoying the pleasures of sin just for a season, Mother Townsend would often testify to having fallen down a long flight of stairs at the famed Savoy Manor Ballroom causing physical injury to herself. With regret, she decided that it was time for a change and in the early to late fifties she had accepted JESUS CHRIST as her LORD and personal SAVIOR. Still in Harlem, Mother Townsend did not take her religion lightly; persuaded by her fall she chose COGIC as her church affiliation and under the recommendation of Betty Moore Banks she became a member of Kelly’s Temple Church Of God In Christ pastored by the Late Bishop O.M. Kelly. Among the fellowship she later met Pioneering Saints, The Late Bishop James Gaylord and Mother Josephine Gaylord, Superintendent Charlie Frinks and The Late Evangelist Shirley Frinks just to name a few. Mother Townsend loved her church, she later departed New York returning to NC where she continued working in the Textile Industry (lasting nearly seventy years), and becoming a member of The St. Paul Church Of God In Christ where she served in various auxiliaries from Pastor’s Aide, The Angelic Choir, Hospitality Club and Usher Board. One of her greatest accomplishments was returning to night school and earning a high school diploma; this enabled her to graduate with the last class of the Booker T. Washington High School in full cap and gown before the ending of school segregation in Rocky Mount. Her service to the local church, The Rocky Mount District, and The Greater North Carolina Jurisdiction was exemplary; serving four Pastors, three Bishops, several Superintendents, District Missionaries and Supervisors; Mother Townsend’s greatest passion was “USHERING.” Obedience to GOD’s word, hard work and dedication to the church has led to a span of nearly seventy years in the ranks of the Saints. Often ridiculed for her practice of perfection, Mother Townsend believed that practice makes perfect; and in her practice, the very few that understood her they knew that her practice was not for man but for CHRIST; she firmly believed that ninety-nine and a half just would not do. Mother Townsend lived to live again and she touched the lives of many along the way. Witnessing to the goodness of the LORD and HIS SON while proclaiming the power of the HOLY SPIRIT; an opening in the heavens was created, the Saints of the old are rejoicing welcoming Mother Townsend home.
Mother Townsend was preceded in death by her Husband, her Only Child, her Parents, her five Siblings, one Grandson, and one Great Grandson. She is earthly survived by two Grandchildren, eight Great Grandchildren, and four Great, Great Grand Children. A host of Nieces, Nephews, Relatives, Church Family and Friends.
“By this, shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.” St. John 13:35