Nelon group to hold concert at Bethel Church

Published 5:55 pm Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bethel United Methodist Church will be welcoming a big time gospel music group to their small congregation Thursday, Jan. 17 and church members are inviting the public to come and enjoy the renowned musical group the Nelons.

Bethel member Alvin Owens said he has known members of the original group for around 30 years and is excited to welcome his old friends back to the Atmore area.

“I’ve been knowing the Nelons 30 years or so,” Owens said. “I worked for Sears. For ten years of it I worked in Atlanta. The piano player lived next door to us and he introduced us. I would do work to their bus and work on appliances and we just got to be good friends.”

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The Nelons have also gotten to be stars in the gospel music genre. The group, originally started as the Lefevres, was carried on by Rex Nelon, Kelly Nelon Clark and her husband Jason Clark and their daughter, Amber Nelon Thompson.

The group has garnered numerous awards over the years, including three Grammy nominations and six Gospel Music Association Dove awards.

Owens said the group visits Bethel around once a year and added the upcoming stop came as quite a surprise.

“(Thursday night) the phone rang and they were on their way to a town near Birmingham and they wanted to stop by,” Owens said. “They try to come by about once a year to Bethel. We’re a small church, but during the program we’ll pass the collection plate and whatever goes in the plate goes to them.”

Owens said the group’s music is even responsible for some of the recent growth in the congregation.

“We have picked up a few members along the way because they like them,” he said. “Some of our newest members are there because of gospel music.”

Thursday’s show is open to the public, but, as Owens said, will include a love offering. The concert will get underway at 7 p.m. at the church’s location at 5191, Hgwy 21 in Atmore.