When mourners gathered Wednesday to eulogize longtime pastor Lillie Mae Powell, they sat in a renovated sanctuary.
Powell, 94, died Saturday, a little over two years after an arsonist burned the God’s Power Church of God at 1985 Cedar Ave. in the Unionville neighborhood.
Although the aging founder of congregations in Danville and Macon had been in declining health in recent years, she never lost her sense of humor, her obituary stated.
Assistant pastor Jeanette Dudley described Powell as a “trailblazer.”
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“’Cause back in the day in that time, they were against women pastors,” Dudley said Wednesday.
The trained cosmetologist did hair in addition to preaching for more than 60 years.
“When they were using wood to build their churches, she was using bricks,” Dudley said. “She was a business-minded person.”
The gray church that burned in 2015 was restored earlier this year as Powell went into hospice care.
The exterior is now a light yellow.
“You should see on the inside. ... It’s purple and white,” Dudley said.
A couple weeks after the fire, local leaders gathered at the church at the corner of Moseley Avenue.
Investigators confirmed it was deliberately set, but no one was ever arrested.
Powell is survived by two children, three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.