ROXBOROUGH >> In 1831, 187 years ago, Samuel Lawson, a Sunday school teacher in Manayunk, a section of the then Roxborough Township in the City of Philadelphia, thought his students at the Fourth Reformed Church should have a healthy and happy celebration in the outdoors.
He organized a Sunday school picnic on the Fourth of July with a procession of the Sunday school children marching through the streets of town.
So began the community’s Independence Day Parade of Sunday Schools and Churches.
Local residents are invited to come dressed in their service uniform or their red, white and blue, carry a Bible, ring bells, wear a tin cup on a ribbon around your neck and march or watch the 188th annual Independence Day Parade of Sunday Schools and Churches Wednesday, July 4.
Police will post temporary “No Parking” signs a day or two before the parade, reminding residents to move their cars from the parade route (Manayunk, Lyceum and Ridge avenues) and access streets (Conarroe Street near Manayunk and Ridge avenues). SEPTA bus routes will be detoured for the duration of the parade.
The parade will begin at 9 a.m. sharp at Manayunk and Lyceum avenues and will proceed down Lyceum Ave to Ridge Avenue.
Groups marching in the parade will include veterans, Jeanette’s School of Dance, Action Karate, the Wissahickon Braves cheerleaders and the Roxborough Home for Women.
According to the custom of the 21st Ward Fourth of July Association, the lead church honors Lawson by parading with the bronze tablet dedicated to his memory and displaying it throughout the year. Church in the Yunk, which is celebrating its 166th anniversary, will be the lead church. The lead church chooses a Bible verse as the parade theme, and Church in the Yunk, under the under the pastorate of the Rev. Ron Matlack, has chosen “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Romans 10:17.
Grand parade marshal the Rev. Michael I. Talley Sr., pastor of Lighthouse Missionary Baptist and an alumnus of Galilee Baptist, will be assisted by Assistant Parade Marshals Joe and Renée D’Amore, Jack Craighead and friends (Leverington Presbyterian), Fran D’Amore Danowski (Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic and Roxborough Presbyterian), Ralph and Claire Morgan (St. Timothy’s Episcopal), Theresa Remoldi Ferris, Dan Ferris and Luann Casey.
The following churches will march in the parade: Church in the Yunk, St. Mary’s Episcopal, St. David’s Episcopal, St. Timothy’s Episcopal, St. Alban’s Episcopal, Leverington Presbyterian, Galilee Baptist, Roxborough Presbyterian, Green Lane United Methodist, Pilgrim Presbyterian, Community Bible Fellowship, Ridge Avenue United Methodist and St. John the Baptist, Manayunk.
On July 4, at 8 a.m., St. John the Baptist, Manayunk will celebrate Mass, while Roxborough Presbyterian will host a patriotic worship service at 11 a.m. after the parade. At Community Bible Fellowship (formerly Roxborough Baptist Church), members and friends will offer free ice cold “Lemonade in the Shade” to marchers and watchers. Four-legged friends will be able to quench their thirst at the dog watering station.
At the parade, the 21st Ward Fourth of July Association will hold the 16th annual Fourth of July Raffle. Assistant parade marshals will have tickets at the parade. Tickets are $1 each or six tickets for $5. Winners will be notified by phone by Monday, July 9.
There is no rain date for the parade.
Leading up to the parade, the 21st Ward Fourth of July Association will sponsor Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast Saturday, June 30, from 8 to 10 a.m. Flapjack fundraiser tickets were distributed to church representatives to sell at a cost of $7 per person and $4.50 for kids 8 and under. No tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets are available from any church representative to the association or by calling 215-482-6513.