Black History Month: The Rev. A.Z. Hall builds community to bring people together
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JACKSON, Tenn. — Those who knew the Rev. A.Z. Hall said he not only served his church but his entire community. He did not just deliver this message from the pulpit but also outside the walls of the building. As a college student, Carla Pollard and her friends started going to a church in east Jackson, a church she said she never knew would have such an impact on her life because of one man. “With Elder Hall, we learned a lot,” Pollard said. “With not only God, but he was able to take us into environments that we probably wouldn’t have experienced.” The Rev. A.Z. Hall came to the Pentecostal Assembly Church of God in Christ in 1990. Hall lived in Memphis across the way from Elder Tonnye Irons Sr. “Through the process and everything he accomplished, I thank God for his life, and it has had a major impact on me as a pastor,” Irons said. “I learned so much from him.” One of Irons’ fondest memories is when Hall celebrated the 25th anniversary of Irons and his wife, just one event in the 30 years Hall served as his big brother and mentor. Irons said Hall had big plans for building up the city of Jackson, such as Baker’s Place Apartments, a successful operation that Pollard now manages. “If you manage it well and your people take pride in it, you instill that in your people, there’s no reason why any apartment complex or project cannot look nice,” Pollard said. More than brick and mortar, Hall wanted the people to come together and work as a community. “Elder Hall was a people person,” Irons said. “He felt that people were our greatest asset, and if we could touch the lives of people and make their lives a little bit better.” Programs such as back-to-school initiatives, carnivals and a year-round Christmas store are still successful today. Hall’s legacy holds a special place in the hearts of his congregation and the people he served in West Tennessee. “It was about ministry, and ministry to the people in your community, more than just going to church for show,” Pollard said. “He wanted us to really get out and work in the community.” In addition to his work in West Tennessee, The Rev. A.Z. Hall was the National General Secretary for the Church of God in Christ. He lost a battle to cancer in 2007, but his congregation members said they are proud to see his legacy continue with community outreach programs that continue to thrive.