Street signs indicating the intersection of Newhall and Ivy streets in the Newhallville neighborhood will remain in place, but the corner’s identity will glow with the pride of a new sign that was dedicated Saturday to one of the neighborhood’s most beloved and venerable citizens, Bishop Colon Haywood, Sr., pastor of the nearby Faith Temple Deliverance Center.
Before the presentation of a proclamation presented by the mayor’s office and a citation from Alder Delphine Clyburn and the Board of Alders, a line of clergy, friends and associates of the pastor took turns at an outdoor microphone, recounting how their lives had been personally affected and how the neighborhood is a better place because of the exemplary deeds and life led by Bishop Haywood.
“Bishop has been on this corner since Newhallville’s most violent times” testified Pastor Donald Morris.
Large swaths of the Newhallville neighborhood had in earlier years earned a reputation as being drug and gang infested and plagued by frequent murders and gun violence. That perception and reality have turned around in recent years due to the efforts of organized neighborhood groups, new investment in housing infrastructure, and the tenacity and vision of people like Bishop Haywood. Haywood has been praying and placemmaking for almost 60 years — first as associate pastor of the Macedonia Church of Christ for 27 years, and the last 30 years as pastor of Faith Temple Deliverance Center.
“Bishop Colon Haywood Sr., has helped countless people throughout the community that led him to host ‘Feed My Sheep Outreach Ministries,’ opening the church doors to provide free lunch and clothing to anyone in need; sponsoring annual ‘Healthy and Holy Health Fairs’ and [providing] countless hours mentoring young ministers,” reads the mayor’s proclamation. Neighbors said the church’s nearby dining hall has been used for years as a warming and safety center for children and their parents awaiting school bus arrivals at the corner.
The dedication service was led by the Rev. Mrs. Colon Haywood, who like others, noted the the importance of being able to “give flowers while the person is still living.” Church secretary LaRene Brown, who was instrumental in the corner-renaming effort, echoed a similar sentiment: “I am feeling grateful and elated that our bishop is being honored; that he is able to see it — and that’s not normal when the person is alive.”
Presenting the proclamation from Mayor Toni Harp’s office was Arthur Edwards, project manager for Newhallville’s “Byrne grant” ant-iviolence effort. He gave a heartfelt speech in recounting the bishop’s service to community.
With the conclusion of speeches and hymns, including words from Bishop Haywood, who talked about his own conversion to the faith more than 50 years ago, the congregation’s gaze was cast upward to the covered street sign and the reveal that was at hand.
After several gentle tugs on a string connected to the street sign cover, a collective sigh of disappointment rose from the crowd when the paper sleeve temporarily lodged in place with the string eventually tearing away from the sign cover—a fleeting engineering malfunction that was soon resolved.
One long stick and a few piñata swings later, the sign cover was cleared revealing a new name and way to think about the corner of Ivy and Newhall Streets, as stated in the mayor’s proclamation: “Family values, Pride and Tradition intersect at The “Bishop Colon Haywood Sr. Corner.”
Amid the new round of cheers and praising, nowhere was the pride more evident than on the faces of Bishop Haywood Sr. and son, Colin Haywood Jr., The youngest of the seven Haywood family siblings, Stevie, perhaps put it best: “My father has given his life to the ministry and to helping others — He’s a true man of God.”