Published August 3, 2018
ATLANTA—The Gambia Christians Organization of Atlanta will mark its 25th anniversary with a Sang Marie Mass, cultural night and family picnic the weekend of Aug. 17-19.
The community was created in 1993 and has grown to a membership of 60 people.
The mission of the organization is to build a vibrant Gambian Christian community responsive to the religious, social, economic and educational matters affecting the members’ home country, The Gambia, West Africa.
The group gathers as family at major feast days of the church to pray, celebrate and bond in fellowship. Members strive to be more like Christ.
The highlight of the organization’s celebrations is the annual Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption, called Sang Marie, which is also the feast of the Diocese of Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. The occasion is significant because it brings together all Gambians, both Christians and Muslims from across the United States as well as visitors from abroad.
This year marks the silver jubilee of the organization in Atlanta with three celebrations scheduled.
On Friday, Aug. 17, the organization will have a cultural night with performances by several groups at the Quality Inn Northeast, 2960 NE Expressway, I-85 at Shallowford Road in Atlanta. The program begins at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 18, Father Anthony Gabisi will celebrate Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 2855 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta. Mass is at 7 p.m. A fundraising gala follows at the Horizons Event Hall in Norcross. Funds raised support the group’s various charitable projects.
A family picnic will be Sunday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Wellington Event Hall, 950 Indian Trail Lilburn Road, Lilburn.
The community’s home parish is Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Father Guyma Noel, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church, Marietta, is chaplain.
GCO has a choir that plays a vital role in bridging the gap between church traditions and Gambian traditions. It is the first Gambian choir established outside The Gambia and is under the direction of Vincent Ndow. The choir promotes enculturation with songs in Gambian local languages as well as maintaining traditional Latin and English hymns.
Community members make an annual pilgrimage to the home of EWTN in Irondale, Alabama, and hold an annual Lenten retreat.
GCO’s community involvement includes providing and feeding the homeless at the Atlanta Homeless Shelter; volunteering at churches for special projects and programs, ranging from food drives to cleaning of church buildings; donating and volunteering at Hands on Atlanta; and donating to and volunteering at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
The organization continues to work on other projects in support of the Diocese of Banjul, including the school scholarship program, “Each One Help On.” The project assists schools and students in providing books, supplies and other necessities to enhance education. Other projects include assistance in construction of churches in rural areas and renovation of The Gambia’s Junior Seminary; support for seminarians; provision of communications equipment for the cathedral there; and sending clothing, household and school supplies to flood victims and the less fortunate.
Students at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Queen of Angels School, sponsors and donors help make projects possible.
For more information on the work or events of The Gambia Christians Organization Atlanta, visit www.gco-atlanta.org or contact Goree Oliver at 770-639-5920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.