Part of Bradley may be named for Bishop McGhee
CHAMPAIGN — A local minister who has devoted much of his life to helping young people and doing humanitarian work could soon have part of a Champaign street named in his honor.
The Champaign City Council is scheduled to discuss naming the section of Bradley Avenue between State and Elm streets after Suffragan Bishop Edward T. McGhee at its meeting tonight.
McGhee has served as pastor for the Church of the Apostolic Authority in Champaign for 35 years.
"I was overwhelmed when I learned I was being considered for this," he said Monday night. "I never expected anything like this."
If Honorary Edward T. McGhee Way is approved by the city council, the designation would be in place for 10 years.
"Absolutely, there is no doubt in my mind that he deserves to have an honorary street designation," said Minister Lisa Fielder, who nominated McGhee. "He does everything that he can to be a blessing, not only to the congregation, but also to people that he does not know. He continuously displays gracious acts of humanitarianism through his giving."
"I think he is a very deserving nominee," added parish member Mya Clements. "He does so much behind the scenes to help so many people."
McGhee grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and said he was called to the ministry at age 14. After serving in the Chicago area, McGhee preached at a different Champaign church in 1979. He said he was so impressed with Champaign-Urbana that he decided to move here and devote his ministry to the people of C-U.
Among his contributions since: the White-Henderson-Cummings scholarship fund that McGhee started has helped more than 25 high school students have the opportunity to go to college, Fielder pointed out.
"No other community minister has exemplified the love and support that Bishop McGhee has given," said Barbara Cook, assistant coordinator of the Central High School African American Club.
McGhee also founded a non-profit organization that provides free community computer classes, mentoring and tutoring.
In nomination letters to the council, Franklin Middle School assistant principal Renayee Westfield called him the "consummate humanitarian," and Sheriff Dan Walsh praised the bishop for providing career counseling and encouraging parishioners to seek jobs in law enforcement.
The bishop has also worked with the Empty Tomb, Restoration Urban Ministries, the TIMES Center, the Women's Shelter and Access Initiative.
"I would describe myself as a people person," McGhee said. "I believe in reaching out to others, whether they are affiliated with our church or not."
McGhee said he looks at the possible street designation not only as a recognition for his work but that of his church, as well.