A luncheon for Rev. Dr. Helen Bessent Byrd was hosted by Covenant Presbyterian Church on July 30, 2016 at the Murray Center in recognition of her retirement as the church’s pastor. Serving as M.C. for the event was Covenant Elder Brenda H. Andrews, Publisher of the New Journal and Guide. Dr. Bryd has served as the pastor of Covenant for seven years and will officially retire from service at the end of August. She also is a retired Norfolk State University professor.
Along with family members who had traveled from as far away as Georgia and Kentucky to join in the observance, her church family and friends were in attendance. Persons on the program delivering special greetings and tributes to the honoree were Elder Claudette Gravely (church family); Rev. William M. Bessent (immediate family); Rev. Liza Hendricks (PEVA); Dr. Denise Littleton (NSU family); Ms. Maryland Spicely (Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc.); Eric Gibson, Jr., on behalf of Rev. Veronica Thomas (friends); and Dr. Algeania Freeman (friends).
Providing music for the occasion were Mr. Ronald Myers, Minister of Music at Covenant, and violinist Ms. Maricia Atkinson McCleese. Church Elder, Dr. Grady James, was the photographer. The invocation and grace were delivered by Rev. Addie Peterson of Messiah Presbyterian Church. Gifts to Dr. Byrd from the church were presented by Mrs. Zenobia Pendleton and from First United Presbyterian Church and its Pastor, Veronica Thomas. Rev. Wilbur Douglas of Community Presbyterian Church delivered the benediction.