South Suburban Area WMS Presents Distinguished Award to Sister Sylvia P. Lett
By Ms. Angelena Spears, 1st& Episcopal District
The South Suburban Area Women’s Missionary Society of Philadelphia held its Annual Harvest Luncheon on November 23. The highlight of the program was presenting Sister Sylvia P. Lett with the distinguished Sarah Allen Award. The award is given to someone who exemplifies the missionary spirit of Allen, who is known for her work as an abolitionist, aiding runaway slaves and for charity work.
Sister Lett is the wife of Dr. Charles H. Lett, Sr., the presiding elder of the West Mainline District of the Philadelphia Conference.& & Sister Lett has served as a missionary in the AME Church for more than 40 years. For almost 16 of those years, she has been a district consultant.
Phyllis Ruffin, the current South Suburban Area WMS chairperson, says the criteria for receiving the award is someone, who like Allen, demonstrates going above and beyond what is expected. Sister Lett has done just that. “Not only is Sister Lett a district consultant,” says Ruffin, “she rolls up her sleeves and goes out of her way to help others.” Sister Connie Smith, the Philadelphia Conference WMS President, also lauded Sister Lett as being a “missionary at heart.”&
During the ceremony, the Lett’s three adult children, all of whom serve in ministry, gave a tribute to their mother. The Rev. Tiffany Lett-Martin, who is the pastor of Bethel AME Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania, revered her mother as someone “who loves without measure and is a giver.” The Rev. Lett-Martin also noted that her mom is a powerful prayer intercessor.
Charles Lett, Jr., who along with his brother David Lett, who is a licentiate in the AME Church, complimented both parents as perfect role models. He added, “The Christian walk, my mom did it every day. Everything I am is from her and from both of their examples,” The Rev. Lett stated. “She has shown me that if this Christian work is in you, then it is not a chore,” he continued.
David Lett, the youngest of the three Lett children and whose birthday happened to be the same day as the event, complimented his mother for being an excellent educator. Sister Lett is a retired school teacher and administrator, who served 40 years in the field.& & Brother Lett pointed to her traits of “transparency, sincerity, and keeping her word.” He added, “I love you. We appreciate you. You are a role model for all of us.”
When Sister Lett gave remarks, she expressed her appreciation for the award, saying she prefers to be the one doing things in the background. She referenced the importance of mentorship and noted two former missionaries who had been mentors to her, the late Sister Ethel McNair and Sister Forestyne Ogden.
Presiding Elder Lett thanked everyone for “honoring and recognizing” Sister Lett. On countless other occasions, he has noted that she has been the reason for his success in ministry.
The luncheon was held at Galdo’s Banquet Facility in Philadelphia. The theme was “Tutus, Tiaras and Ties.” The chairpersons were Crystal Jones, Thaeh Norris, Lakeshia Thomas-Baker, and Tanisha Thomas. Each of the chairpersons served as hosts for the luncheon and they, along with Ruffin, wore tutus and tiaras.&
During the lively celebration, a tiara was presented to Sister Lett and also to Dr. Janet J. Sturdivant, the presiding elder of the South Philadelphia District. The Rev. Michael Sturdivant, the district consultant, served as the master of ceremonies for the event.
Mrs. Angelena Spears is the Philadelphia Conference Reporter.