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You Are Welcome

October 15, 1919 — Seventh Quadrennial Session of Women’s Mite Missionary Society, Mt. Zion A.M.E Church, Jacksonville FL


Mistress of Ceremonies, Honored Bishop, Distinguished Visitors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to have this privilege to welcome you here tonight in behalf of the North Jacksonville District.
We have not come to tell you of obstacles and sorrows that confront us and thereby make you sad, but we have come with hearts filled with love to bring you greetings and to tell you how welcome you are in our midst and if possible make you glad that you came to the Land of Sunshine and Roses. It is our intention, ladies and gentlemen, to see to it that while you sojourn here among us that your stay be one of pleasure.
It cheers the heart of a stranger to receive a cordial welcome.
People have been exchanging visits with each other and extending and accepting words of welcome ever since way be in the early ages of the world.
When Magda, the Queen of Sheba, visited Solomon, he greeted her with words of welcome, such as she had never head before.
When Ruth left the land of Moab, the land of her nativity and went with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to live in Judah she was welcomed heartily by the people of Judah and doubly welcomed by Boaz in whose field she gleaned, and who later became her husband.
When Esther, the Jewish maiden, who was made Queen of Persia, and who risked her life to enter uninvited the court of Ahaseurus to visit him and to plead for her people, was made to rejoice, because of the welcome accorded her by the king when he extended to her the golden scepter and bade her to make her wishes known and that they should be granted even until the half of his kingdom.
We have no kingdom to offer or lay at your disposal, but we have many other things of which we are justly proud and in behalf of the North Jacksonville District I am happy to say to you that to all of these you are welcome.
We are glad to have you here to see the wonderful achievements that we have made, morally, intellectually, financially and spiritually.
Under the leadership of our distinguished, intelligent, dignified Christian bishop, the Right Reverent John Hurst, the general of the Eleventh Episcopal District, who has been so nobly supported by these gallant, untiring, unselfish, ever-ready presiding elders, pastors and laymen, we have brought tings to pass and our fondest dreams have been realized, and if you doubt my statements, all that you need to do is look about you, see this, Mt. Zion Church, see Edward Waters College, see the report for missions and other things, and you will agree with me that you are being welcomed by a great people of a great church in a great district, the greatest district in all Florida, presided over by one of the most scholarly presiding elders I the entire connection in the person of Dr. Daniel M. Baxter.
So, again, I want to say to you that:
You are welcome, yes, indeed, you are,
Welcome as the morning star
Was to the wise men of the East
When they sought for the Prince of Peace.
You are as welcome as the breeze of May,
You are as welcome as a summer day,
You are as welcome as the birds that sing,
You are as welcome as the flowers of spring.
We welcome you because you are
Moral and spiritual guiding stars,
Lifting others as you climb,
To heights above sin, shame and crime.
Because you are helping to mold and make
Better men and women for humanity’s sake,
Because like giants you’ve taken a stand
To fight down wrong where’er you can.
Because you fear neither head nor cold,
Because you are Christians strong and bold,
Because you’ve heard the heathen’s cry,
Because you’ve answered, “Here am I.”
Because you know no east or west,
Because you are striving to do your best,
Because you are trending the path our Savior trod,
Because we are all children of the living God.
You are welcome to our glad sunshine,
You are welcome to our corn and wine,
You are welcome to our milk and honey,
And you are welcome even to our money.
You are welcome to our broad, clean streets,
You our welcome to our bread and meats,
And if cooked food fails your taste to suit,
You are welcome to our groves of fruit.
Oranges, mangoes, lemons, grapes and limes,
Sugar apples, paupaus and apples called pines,
Sea grapes, cocoanuts and bananas not a few,
Avocado pears, plums and guavas, too.
To food and shelter, to carriage and car.
To all that we have you are welcome, yes you are,
Now, if there is aught in my welcome left unsaid,
Charge it not to the heart, please, but charge it to the head.
Because if each of us had a thousand tongues
We would gladly welcome you with every  one,
So with hearts as pure as heaven’s own dew,
In Jehovah’s name we welcome you.



Source: Poetic Pearls, by Carrie Law Morgan Figgs (Jacksonville, FL: Edwards Waters College Press) 1920, pp. 28-32.