The historic Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn was the setting for the wedding of the Rev. Alexis Yvonne Southerland and Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe on June 29. The exchange of rings and vows, as well as the lighting of the unity candle, were all part of the traditional service. The beauty of the ceremony was enhanced by the soft glow of Tiffany stained glass windows, the traditional music played on the famous Austin pipe organ and the Henry Prussing murals.
The officiants of the ceremony were the Revs. Kenneth Bogan and Sylvia Gail Kinard. The liturgist was the Rev. Bettye Bogan and the organist was Gregory Eaton. Serving as maid of honor was Danielle Summers, with Tori Baker and Sharon Jean-Pierre as bridesmaids. The junior bridesmaid was Enuma Anekwe, and the flower girls were Taylor Jackson and Kendall Jackson. Dr. Ejinkonye Anekwe served as best man for his brother, and Dr. Timothy Onyiuke and Tochi Duhu served as groomsmen.
The wedding mass was held on June 30 at St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, at which the officiant was Bishop Guy Sansaricq. Serving as witnesses were Emma Jeanette Anekwe, mother of the groom, and Yvonne Southerland, mother of the bride. Standing with the bride was Summers, and Ejinkonye Anekwe stood with the groom. Again, the sanctuary was awe-inspiring with its high marble altar and columns.
Southerland graduated from the Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., the oldest school for girls in the United States, and made her debut at the Sigma Gamma Rho Cotillion in Atlanta, where she was crowned cotillion queen. While a student at Spelman College, Southerland participated in the Junior Year Abroad program, studying at St. Edmund Hall at Oxford University in England. She graduated from Spelman with honors. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University.
Southerland is employed as a unit coordinator with the New York City Department of Education and serves as the pastor of Discipleship at the Greater Restoration Baptist Church in Brooklyn. She is the daughter of Yvonne Foster Southerland, an artist, author and retired art educator with the former New York City Board of Education, who also taught at the American School in Gelnhausen, Germany and the American School of Languages in Florence, Italy. Her father is the late Rev. Plato Southerland, who was the associate pastor at Brown Memorial Baptist Church of Brooklyn and an administrator with the former New York City Board of Education.
Anekwe graduated with honors from Grace Christian School of Columbus, Ga., and received a Bachelor of Arts in mass media with honors from Clark Atlanta University. He received a Master of Education in counseling and student development from Tuskegee University, where he served on the faculty for several years, and a Doctor of Education from Auburn University. During his doctoral studies at Auburn, he conducted and presented research in education, ethics and philosophy at the International University Bremen in Bremen, Germany; John Cabot University in Rome; Cracow University of Technology in Kracow, Poland; and the University of Sterling in Sterling, Scotland. He is presently pursuing a Master of Science degree in bioethics at Columbia University and is a teacher with the New York City Department of Education.
The groom is the son of Emma Jeanette Anekwe, a retired teacher with the Muscogee County School District in Columbus, Ga., and Gregory Ejinkonye Anekwe, who was formerly chairperson of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Lagos, College of Medicine. He is retired.
After a wedding trip to the Dominican Republic, the couple will reside in Brooklyn.