For the past 25 years the Alive Christian Bookstore has been a beacon of spiritual enlightenment and faith in the Black community.
Larcenia “Jewel” Sweat, was the face of that 2275 Fillmore Avenue institution which she co-founded with her husband, Bishop Gordon M. Sweat.
Last month, in the early morning hours of September 2, Mrs. Sweat “transitioned in glory.” Services were held at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist church pastored by Frank Bostic. Services were officiated by Apostle Robert L. Sanders Sr., Regional Apostle – Region 2, Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Within our community, to have a bookstore to last that long is a miracle,” said Bishop Sweat.
Indeed, Mrs. Sweat , his beloved wife, was herself a miracle he acknowledged, having long outlived a cancer diagnosis.
“The Lord blessed her to prevail and she outlived (the doctor’s predictions) over 10 years” he said.
“The bookstore was/ is actually a ministry,” he continued, explaining that people would come for payer while others have been saved and a church, located upstairs, would incubate young ministers for the pastorate who were just being called to the ministry.
The bookstore, said Bishop Gordon, is still open regular hours, Tuesdays thru Fridays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
-A True “Jewel”-
Known for her quick wit and full laughter, Larcenia could always see another side of any situation.
A Buffalo native, she was born March 7, 1955 to Walter and Lillian Bobbette Watkins and educated in Buffalo Public Schools.
Larcenia accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at an early age. While in high school she married her true love and soulmate, Gordon M. Sweat. They were blessed with three fine sons. When Gordon was called to the ministry, she served alongside him as First Lady of Refuge Temple of Christ (Niagara Falls). When Elder Gordon became Bishop she became First Lady of The Bronx Diocese of New York, which is part of The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. Hers was a life well lived. Married 47years and a Soldier for Christ for 58.
Her loving memory will be cherished by her beloved husband, Bishop Sweat and her three sons Chance(Amanda), Drew (Shana), Branden (Alexis); parents Walter R. Sr. and Lillian B. Watkins; Sisters Walette Fisher, Derrice Harris, Christie (Derrick)Cunningham; 10 beloved grand and 4 great grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, family, church family, friends and all the many customers she so graciously served over the years.