Church pastors do so much for their flocks

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Everyone appreciates his or her church pastors. I know I do.

But have you ever thought how some church pastors work extra hard at Christmas time? Not only do they prepare extra sermons, but they also must coordinate special Christmas cantatas and events. While most pastors glide through excellent relationships with their congregations, some find core members somewhat more demanding. These are the members who are normally called on to pray during church services. By the way, our church has come up with a highly talented new song leader. Not only does he direct music in a professional manner, but also he vocalizes with so much resonant quality.

Speaking of pastors, I enjoy the company of Arnold Hendrix, and what an excellent, personable pastor he is. It could be because his family and my family grew up together in Perdido. He never took issue with me that I grew up in the Methodist church.

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James Boyd is another pastor I have been fond of. He came into the ministry following a highly successful career in the plumbing business at Ensley, Fla., dispatching over 20 trucks each day, reaching the entire northwest Florida and south Alabama areas. It is remarkable how he found time for seminar schooling. Congenial, friendly and determined he serves his congregation with loving compassion.

Methodist pastors, as you know, receive annual assignments from a bishop, or board. Many of these fine pastors continue to receive assignment at the same church each year. When I was growing up, I remember Tom Butts served at our Perdido Methodist Church for several years.

I wish I personally knew all our pastors here in Atmore and the surrounding area, but I really do not. I would like to write about them. Perhaps as I become acquainted with them I can do just that.

I am acquainted with another fine pastor here, Don Davis, at First Assembly of God. What a remarkable congregation he has built and what wonderful instrumental and vocal music his church offers.

When I think of this church, I am reminded of those days back in the 1950s when Jimmy Swaggart came to our area for a revival. Tom Miniard invited him to WATM to speak. I was on duty at the control board one of those days and I set back in amazement listening not to only his sermons but his beautiful singing voice and piano accompaniment. I also had the opportunity to talk with him before he left our studios that day. I will never forget his telling me of his plans to build a big “Super Church.” And, he did just that. In fact, his church flourishes today in Baton Rouge, La.

Now let us take a look at some news from 1966.

You could eat a lot cheaper in 1966 than you can today. Back then, KwikChek advertised roast beef at 39 cents a pound in The Atmore Advance. And, my brother in law, Lawrence Cooper at his Bratt Grocery Store, ran a special on cube steaks  at 10 cents a steak.

Travis Black, former Escambia County High School principal, was named president of District 1 Secondary Principal’s Association and Henry Lowery, owner of Greenlawn Pharmacy, was appointed chairman of the 1966 local United Fund campaign. Henry was very active in local civic and community activities.

A few years ago, we said goodbye to Barbara Billingsley, the TV mother of the popular hit show “Leave It To Beaver.” This show depicted America’s typical family. The 94-year-old Billingsley also starred in other well-known movies throughout out her 75-year career.

One of the interesting aspects about this family was the diversified roles played by hubby Hugh Beaumont. In addition to being Beaver’s dad, I remember his playing a role as Superman and as detectives in other TV series. Beaumont was also a licensed Methodist minister.

You don’t find families on TV like that today. Many liberal, young, writers today now want to insert scripts containing single parents and gay parents. In fact, shows today are not “in the main stream” if divorce and “exes” are not written into roles.

A few years ago we said good bye to Jimmy Morris. He was one of Mobile’s most colorful figures, especially in commerce, radio and TV. You heard his resonant voice that night in the mid 1950s as the PA announcer when end zone seats collapsed in Ladd Peebles Stadium bringing death and injury to several. That was Paul Bryant’s first trip into Ladd Peebles Stadium. His Crimson Tide played The LSU Tigers to a close finish, losing by only a few points.

Morris, who worked at WKRG Radio in the early 1950s, was teamed with a radio character called “Plow Handle Bill,” whose antics were popular in those days. He was also close friends to Atmore’s late the Rev. Dewitt Allen, who worked at WALA Radio before entering the ministry.

By the way, I received a nice phone call this week from Curtis Chambers who worked as a musician with Plowhandle Bill, and all the announcing crew at WKRG Radio in the early 1950s. Curtis is retired in Atlanta and follows our column each week. Curtis and I are now good Facebook friends.

We will have more news from days gone by in Atmore.