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Thanks for a song well sung

In the pulpit

POSTED: July 27, 2009 10:17 a.m.
Photo provided/

Front row, from left: Samuel Powell, Jerry Sapp and Ronnie Dean. Back row: Henry Roberts, Earl Bennett, James Blocker and Jeffrey West.

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The dedicated members of the Zion Gospel Travelers of Liberty County have a special love for what they do. They love to sing. No matter how busy their schedules, the men still find time to come together for the many singing engagements they participate in each year.
The group travels extensively, singing and praising Jesus’ name. They have become a household name in Liberty and surrounding counties. In April, the group celebrated its 12th anniversary.
Since the Zion Gospel Travelers of Liberty County teamed up, they have done a lot to help the community. They participate in church and community programs in Liberty, Long, Bryan, McIntosh, Tattnall, Evans and Chatham counties to raise money for people suffering from cancer, heart attacks, liver problems, strokes and burn injuries. The musicians also have appeared at church, choir, pastor, usher and other anniversary programs.
To lift the spirits of the sick, bedridden or imprisoned, the travelers have performed in several nursing homes and prisons, including Savannah Men Transitional Center, Wayne County State Prison and the Effingham County jail.
To show the group how much they are appreciated, Sue Williams, a former resident of Liberty County, has planned an appreciation picnic for the group at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at Johnnie Frasier Park in Walthourville.
“I wanted to show appreciation to the Zion Gospel Travelers. When I need them, they are always there,” said Williams, who is coordinating the event. “This is our way of giving back to them. They have given so much to the community. We are doing a picnic style appreciation celebration for them.”
“I am glad someone thought highly enough of us to do an appreciation program. I am praying everything turns out well,” Deacon Jeffrey West said. One of the original members of the group, West now serves as the booking manager and secretary.
“I think it is a good thing. We have known Sue Williams for many years. She is the reason the group got a foothold in many of the churches. I feel it is an honor to be given an appreciation,” said James Blocker, who manages the Zion Gospel Travelers. “In my tenure singing with the group, we never turned down anyone in need. We are about trying to give back what God has given us. Members of the Zion Gospel Travelers are about winning souls through songs. Most of the songs we sing were written and recorded by the group. Deacon West and I are the only original members of the group.”
Since the group formed in April 1997, many singers and musicians have joined the Zion Gospel Travelers. They were previously under the direction of the Spiritual Tones of Liberty County.
The Zion Gospel Travelers of Liberty County have performed with national gospel recording artists like Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs, Tony Ellison and the Singing Stars, the Five Blind Boys, Slim and the Supreme Angles, Troy Ramsey and the Soul Searchers, the Swainee Quintet, Little Blair and the Violinaires, the Highway QCs, and Paul Beasley and the Gospel Keynotes.
In 1999, the group traveled to Carr Recording Studio in Columbus to record its first album, “Waiting on Jesus.” The album was a success and copies are still being sold.   
No matter how many engagements they book or who the group plays for, they are committed to their community. The members said they are grateful for the continued support they receive from their audiences.
For more information about the picnic, call Williams at 237-3595, Blocker at 977-8359 or West at 368-5826.
 

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