Aldermen honor the Rev. Perry Bennett

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117511293030675.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘The Rev. Perry Bennett has been pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church for 35 years and a police chaplain for 33.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117511295730675.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘The Rev. Perry Bennett received a standing ovation for his years of service.‘);

In a unanimous show of appreciation for more than three decades of service to the community, Rockford aldermen voted to re-name a portion of a city street after a local pastor March 26.

Morgan Street, between Central and Webster avenues, will now bear the honorary name “Reverend Perry Bennett Way.”

Bennett has been the pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church for 35 years, in addition to being a police chaplain for 33 years. Pastor Bennett is also the great-grandfather of former American Idol star Paris Bennett.

“Rev. Perry Bennett has been in our community for many years,” Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) noted. “He’s really committed to bringing about change in our community that’s positive.”

Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7), who has known Bennett all her life, recognized members of the pastor’s congregation in attendance at the meeting. “I can’t think of a person more worthy of having a street named after them,” Thompson-Kelly expressed.

State Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-67) said: “He has not only been an instrument at his church, but he’s been an instrument in the community. He’s been focused on the positive issues as it relates to the city, the church and all of the other folks involved in our community.”

Jefferson added, “Without the Rev. Dr. Perry Bennett, things would be a lot different in southwest Rockford.”

“I’m grateful,” a humbled Bennett told the council, before conveying a story about having recently been asked when he plans to retire.

“Retire from what?” Bennett joked, indicating his deep roots in Rockford. “Where am I going if I retire?”

“I will try my best to keep on with doing the work I’m doing,” Bennett pledged. “We think that all can walk hand-in-hand together, brothers and sisters, white and black together. We can make Rockford a much, much better city to live in.”

from the March 28-April 3, 2007, issue

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