Proud to follow in her father’s footsteps, Joy Hill Watson is looking forward to bringing “people together through food, fellowship and worship” at the late Rev. Matthew Hill’s Wild Feast.Hill — a retired Cartersville educator and school board member — passed away in 2009.
“My father, Matthew Hill, started the Wild Feast over 30 years ago as St. Luke’s Black History Month celebration in remembrance of the times when black people had to do what they had to do to feed their families,” Watson said. “He often had help preparing the meat from Cecil McConnell, Mrs. Rosa Billups and Mr. David Clark — both deceased — and a few others.”
Open to the public, Sunday’s complimentary gathering will immediately follow St. Luke A.M.E. Church’s 11 a.m. service featuring the Rev. Charles Ramsey Jr.’s sermon.
“Daddy loved wild game and knew that there were many others in the area who also loved wild game,” Watson said. “He’d often take samples to work with him for other teachers and students to taste. He loved for people to enjoy his food. I was a daddy’s girl and often hung around him when he was preparing the wild game and basically that’s how I learned how to cook it. I’ve been coordinating the Wild Feast since his death in 2009. I believe that he prepared me to take on this role and he would want me to continue it as long as possible. His mission was to bring people together through food, fellowship and worship.
“... This year we will have deer, opossum, raccoon, bear, rabbit, oxtails, goat, mountain oysters, and chicken and ham. There will also be a variety of side items and desserts to choose from.”
Celebrating its 150th anniversary in September, St. Luke A.M.E. is operating in the church’s third structure at 130 Jones St. in Cartersville. The congregation started gathering in the building’s lower unit in 1965.
According to www.saintlukeame.net/church-history, “St. Luke was the fourth church organized in the North Georgia Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This historical church was organized in 1866 by Rev. Beecher and Rev. Edwards, Pastors. ... St. Luke A.M.E. Church thrives and prospers as it carries on its legacy and the doctrine of the African Methodist Episcopal Church motto, ‘God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family.’”