- Cullman, Alabama


June 18, 2012

Young preacher embraces childhood, religious calling


With Ezekiel as the frontman, the children perform in a musical group, God's Blessings, No Chains Holding Me Down. The group has appeared on the "Bobby Jones Gospel" show on Black Entertainment Television, on local media outlets and at churches across the region. Smith said she came up with the inspiration for such a group when she was homeless, as she imagined a better future.

God's Blessings is mostly a family affair. Ezekiel plays the drums and keyboard, as does brother Hezekiah, 13. Corinne, 15, is on the bass guitar, and Micah, 7, sings, with a mischievous spirit, along with his siblings. The group recently added a fifth member, Jasmine Megginson, 10.

But the group isn't really about the music, Smith said. It's about the Gospel, and the message the children can spread. "These children are not entertainers or performers. They are music ministers," she said.

The music is catchy and smooth. A performance can start with a rap and end in a Jackson 5-style harmony. The children come up with the lyrics and melodies, Smith said, and she hopes that they can land a big-league recording contract. She has posted her videos of their performances on YouTube.

One spring day, Ezekiel, his brothers and sister, Smith and the children's stepfather, the Rev. Vasconcellas Smith, stepped into a white limousine driven by a relative who is a professional driver, and headed to a nearby elementary school to welcome Jasmine into God's Blessings. The class was expecting them.

But first, the family greeted surprised staff members in the main office. "Sing, children," Smith told them.

Dressed in white suits, they lined up by height and started in on an a cappella version of their song "New Attitude" ("I got a new walk/ I got a new talk/ I got a new personality"). The performance included dance steps and hand motions. A school administrator wondered aloud what was going on.

Text Only
  • SH blessing of throats.jpg Sacred Heart holds Blessing of the Throats

    Members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman took part in the annual ancient tradition of the Blessing of Throats recently following the morning masses.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SH Boy Scout Troop 321.jpg Sacred Heart's Boy Scout Troop honored

    Members of Boy Scout Troop 321 from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church were honored during Mass on Scout Sunday recently in Cullman. The troop has been supported by the Church since it's inception in the early 1950s and takes part

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Methodists in crisis over gay marriage, church law

    The dispute among United Methodists over recognition of same-sex couples has lapsed into a doctrinal donnybrook, pitting clergy who are presiding at gay weddings in defiance of church law against proponents of traditional marriage who are trying to stop them.

    February 6, 2014

  • St. B. March for Life.jpg St. Bernard students attend March for Life

    St. Bernard students joined with the Diocese of Birmingham and 400,000 other pro-life supporters in Washington DC for the annual March for Life during the last week of January, capturing the attention of media mongrel CNN.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • computer.jpg Pope sees Internet as 'gift from God'

    Mark Pope Francis down as an Internet optimist. He declared his unambiguous support for the Web as a tool that brings humanity closer together in a papal statement Thursday.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • White Jesus The race of Jesus: Unknown, yet powerful

    For two thousand years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration.jpg Sacred Heart Church's Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration

    Hispanic members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman enter church dressed in ceremonial garments of their native homeland and carrying mosaics of their patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Christmas program.jpg Huntsville Collegium Musicum Christmas Program at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church

    Eight members of The Huntsville Collegium Musicum presented an acapella concert at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church recently featuring a musical depiction of the Christmas story. Using music dating back to 1420, the program featured works by Cristobal Morales, Jean Mouton, Gustav Holst and Johann Walther as well as the words of American poet Joshua Smith from the eighteenth century.   

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • OCC shoeboxes.jpg Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry

    Another record has been broken by local contributors of gift filled shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry Project. The OCC Collection Center for Cullman County at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church collected 6,352 shoeboxes, breaking the previous record of 5,335 shoeboxes collected last year.

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • Christ Lutheran Church and its tornado cross.jpg Processional cross returned to Christ Lutheran Church

    When the tornado tore through Cullman April 27, 2011, one of the many buildings destroyed was Christ Lutheran Church. Stunned residents throughout the city came out of shelters moments after the tornado hit and were awed by the destruction.

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo