- From the Author
- About the Author
- Lealon Wyatt is First Countian
- Books Published
- Churches and Ministries
- Churches Play Part
- Decatur County Church
- Decoration Day
- Hickory Grove Church
- Mt. Nebo Church
- Do You Remember . . .
- Midwifery Work
- Fish Tales
- Perry County, Tennessee
- Post Offices and Postal Workers
- The River
- Scotts Hill's History
- Tolley Baseball Team
- Bear Creek School
- "Pig-Tail School"
- Educational Changes Since 1927
- First School in Parsons
- Hickory Grove School
- "Miss Allie Mae" Retires
- Mt. Tabor School
- Sugar Tree Got Its Name
- Copter Pilot Feels Lucky
- Mr. Tolley Recalls World War I
- Vietnam Orphans' Plea
- World War I Ending
- Healthy Looking Vietnamese
- Jerry C. Adkisson
- Eathel and Dorskie Austin
- Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Austin
- John Britt
- Tom Burton
- Sue Carrington
- Mike Chandler
- Charles Maxwell Collett 1
- Charles Maxwell Collett 2
- Charles Maxwell Collett 3
- Janice Collett
- Parker Collet
- James Charles Cooper
- Hazel Cottrell
- J. D. Dodd
- J. J. Douglas
- J. D. Featherston
- Lois Frizzell
- Linnie Maxwell Garner
- J. W. C. Gibson
- Lonnie Glasscock 1
- Lonnie Glasscock 2
- Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Graves
- Mr. & Mrs. Otis Graves
- Rube Haney
- Eugenia Hawkins
- Guy F. Hester
- Ralph Holland
- Stanley Holland
- Jerry House
- Kenny Houston
- Boyd Fielder Hufstedler
- David Inman
- William Mac Johnson
- Mr. & Mrs. Ray Jordan
- Kirby S. Kapp
- David Keen
- Effie King
- Bernard Lee
- Bernard Lee Family
- Edd Lee
- Lynette Lindsey
- Holland Odle Miller
- Myra Looney
- Chester Mays
- Mrs. Stanley Mays
- Everett McIllwain
- Horace K. Melton
- Earl Midgett
- Ada Moody
- Mary V. Moore 1
- Mary V. Moore 2
- Mrs. Ben Morris
- Benjamin F. Morris and Ben Morris, Jr.
- Doyle W. Neal
- Kermit E. Neal
- James Overton
- Bobby Pinkley
- Joe Potts
- Imogene Pratt
- Allie Ragsdale
- Mr. & Mrs. Jess Readey
- Harold Reeves
- L. C. Reeves
- Alice Ann Reid
- James Floyd Rogers
- Hettie L. Scott
- Harvey Smith
- Allie Mae Stevens
- Lowell Stonecipher
- John Tinker
- Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Taylor
- Joseph Bailey Taylor Family
- Billy W. Townsend
- Byron Townsend
- W. B. Townsend
- Mr. & Mrs. R. L. Wallace
- Elton Watlington
- Mrs. Robert Watkins
- Willard Watson
- Carolyn Davis Weatherford
- Lewis Welch
- Mr. & Mrs Andy West
- Lealon Wyatt
- Leo Yarbro
- Sallie Young
- Lillye Younger 1
- Lillye Younger 2
From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983). Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.
CHURCHES AND MINISTRIES
It's truly a challenge to me to serve Decaturville United Methodist Church, Rev. J. D. Featherston, 36, newly appointed pastor, said. "However I'm convinced I'm going to like this church and the community," he hurriedly remarked. The people are so friendly and more open than in many areas.
Born at Nebo, Tennessee, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Featherston. He has two sisters and one brother.
The youthful brunette minister turned and said, "I could never do anything but preach the Gospel of Christ, however, I didn't receive this call until I was 24 years of age."
It was in Chicago, where the young man was employed, that he was converted to Christ, at the age of 24. "I was attending an Inter-denomination revival and heard the wonderful message brought by David Epley, an Independent Evangelist, and I gave, my heart and life to Christ."
Rev. Featherston felt that call so strongly to preach that he started his ministry in the slums of Chicago. Here services were held in store buildings and the Gospel reached those living in the slums. "They were so poor, and were not able to maintain a church," he explained, "so I preached to them without pay." Often time he contributed to the up-keep of the church in an effort to reach these poor dejected persons. He was employed by the Corn Products at this time. "I gained some very valuable experiences here and it was very rewarding," he noted. He served this area for four years and traveled as an Evangelist for one year.
The young minister returned to his home in 1962 and united with the East Dyersburg Methodist Church. "I looked at the different denominations and I felt that the Methodist church has the greatest opportunity to reach out and I like its sound doctrine."
He entered Bethel College at McKenzie to prepare for the ministry in the Methodist Church and has had four years of Ministerial courses and study.
"My first charge to serve was at Elbridge and Obion, Tennessee." He has served on the McKenzie Circuit for the past four years.
The humble man of God said, "I do not ask for high positions in the Methodist Church. I'd just like to spend my life in the ministry and I am willing to serve anywhere, God sees fit to use me."
When asked his opinion concerning the young people of today he smiles and said, "Basically, we have some of the finest and most intelligent youth despite the fact that there are those who are confused. I think this is caused by the Communist forces that have infiltrated our society."
"We in the Methodist Church are not accomplishing as much as we have the potentials to accomplish," the versatile young man admitted. "We are not using our means to the fullest extent."
"In order to reach the youth, as well as adults, today it can be done only through the Gospel of Christ. We must love our neighbor as ourself and be willing to reach out and help them, without any strings attached. Jesus is the only answer," he explained.
The Minister's day is filled with meditation, study, visits to sick, shut-ins, and those in need, social calls in the business places and ministering to the bereaved.
Rev. Neal Is New Minister
By Lillye Younger
"I really believe God has called me to preach", sald Rev. Kermit E. Neal, who has recently moved to Parsons to serve as pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
"I fought the call for a long time, to the extent that I fibbed about my age to join the Navy but God won out and I have been preaching for the past 25 years," the versatile enthusiast explained.
Not only does he preach but he is also a teacher, having taught for many years in Arkansas. "I taught the Arkansas Children Colony for Mentally Retarded at Conway, Arkansas," he explained, as well as in the public school system.
A graduate of Bebee, Arkansas high school, his B.A. degree at Bethel College at McKenzie and received his M.S.E. from State College at Conway, Arkansan in 1966.
Rev. Neal has served churches in Arkansan, Missouri, Indiana, Alabama and Kentucky. He served as Chaplain at the Mentally Retarded Institute, Mission State School Hospital at Marshall Missouri. Prior to moving to Parsons, the minister pastored Ebenezer Cumberland Presbyterian Church 25 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas, where he made his home and taught at Benton, Arkansas. Here he served for the past five years.
"Living in Parsons is quite different from Little Rock but I think we will like it fine," he admitted. "I was reared in a much smaller place."
Having a two-fold purpose here of preaching and teaching the 5th grade at Parsons Junior High, the minister admits his goal here is to see the church grow and prosper and his students to learn. "I want our church to continue to be a vital part in our town and to contribute to the spiritual life of our community."
He attributes his success in the educational field to his mother who always insisted he go to school. It was through their encouragement that he was willing to work his way through college on to his Master's degree.
His wife, the former Juanjta Mae Chattin of Washington, Indiana passed away July 26, 1962. Rev. Neal has five children, three daughters and two sons, Belva Joyce, 17; a senior at Riverside, Lawrence Franklin, 13; Anita Fay and Daulta Kay, 9, twins, and Byron David 8.
PARSONS PARSONAGE — Good fortune beyond the dreams of the members of the First United Methodist Church of Parsons came about recently when a local business man deeded a $65,000 home to the church as a parsonage. Due to relocation Dave Odle, former owner of the Parsons Telephone Co., and trustee of the First United Methodist Church, traded his modern 12-room home for the $15,000 church parsonage. The Crab Orchard stone structure is located on the Perryville highway near the intersection of 69 and Highway 20. The Rev. and Mrs. Wilson Jones, in foreground, moved into the new parsonage Feb. 1. Odle, a liberal contributor to the church, realized the former parsonage was inadequate, the pastor said. Besides this new parsonage, eight new parsonages have been erected in the Lexington District within the list six years.
Church Buries Time Capsule
The Decaturville Methodist Church held a time capsule burial following church services Sunday. July 4th. with the container of materials buried underneath the church bell on the front lawn. The capsule, to be opened in 2026, was donated by Kolpak industries. Above, Jack Dalton, vice-president of Kolpak, Ronnie Moore of the church Bicentennial committee, Blair Stentz of Kolpak, Mrs. Bonnyc Allen, chairman of the church Bicentennial committee, and Dr. Craig Jordan, minister, prepare the capsule.
Vacation church school in session at the First Methodist Church in Parsons.
The First Methodist Church in Parsons has been conducting a vacation church school all this week. Adult director for this school is Mrs. Leo Yarbro. Teachers have been Mrs. Peggy Teague, Mrs. Doris Scott, Mrs. Frances Woodside, Mrs. Imogene Pratt, Mrs. Lillye Younger, Mrs. Eunice Jones and Misses Karen Scott and Alice Reid. Music directors have been Mrs. Terrell McIllwain and Mrs. Margaret Doering.
The following boys and girls were available for the picture: Tracy Tolley, Angela Ivy, Micky King, Christine King, Marty Teague, Todd Teague, Betty McIllwain, Donna Odle, Janice Collett, Pan Boggan, Terry Carillo, Darlene Carillo, Steve Reynolds, Erma Crawley, Pat Wortham and Karen Scott.
Beech River Baptist To Hear Missionaries
Thirty six of the churches in the Beech River Baptist Association will hear a missionary speaker the week of Oct. 20-25. Seventeen of the churches will have a different speaker each service beginning Sunday morning and continuing through Friday night. Eight of these churches will hear speakers for one-half the week. Two of the churches will have speaker for both services Sunday. Eight of the churches will have a speaker during the Sunday School hour.
Twenty five different missionaries will be speaking throughout the week in these churches. Six of these mission speakers are missionaries from the United States to Pakistan, Switzerland, Honduras, Japan and East Africa. Speakers will represent special ministries in Ohio, Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Jamaica.
An associational-wide Missions Rally is scheduled for Sunday Afternoon, at the Calvary Baptist Church, Parsons. The service will begin at 2:30 p.m. Rev. Jack G. Conley, missionary to Tanzania (East Africa) will be the inspirational speaker. Special music will be brought by two of the churches.
Day meeting services for the pastors, missionaries, and other interested persons will be held each morning at 10:30 as follows: Monday — Union Baptist, Chesterfield; Tuesday — First Baptist, Parsons; Wednesday —Wildersville Baptist Church; Thursday — Rock Hill Baptist Church; and Friday — Sardis Baptist Church
At each of these day services some four or five of the visiting missionaries will speak briefly on their work.
A cordial invitation is extended to hear these missionaries throughout the week.
NEW PASTOR — The Rev. Paul Shell is the new pastor of the First Baptist Church in Parsons. He received his AB degree from Samford College in Birmingham, Ala. and a ___ from the Baptist Theological Seminary at New Orleans, La. He is married to the former Mary Jo Bush and they have four daughters. He served churches in Mississippi and Alabama before coming to Parsons.
New Decaturville Circuit Minister Fought Gospel Call Four Years
By Lillye Younger
Despite the fact that he fought the call to preach the Gospel for four years, the Rev. Horace K. Melton, 50, newly appointed pastor on the Decaturville circuit, finally gave in.
The stocky built brunette minister said, "It was while I was employed as agent with the Railway Express in Memphis, Tennessee that I kept resisting the call to preach, however when I submitted to this call, everything else fell into place. I believe in the Bible and I often speak dogmatic in regard to the scripture," he admitted.
He entered the ministry rather late in life, after having served as Railroad Express Agent for 25 years. His first appointment was at Piperton United Methodist Church inColliersville, where he served six and one half years, prior to being transferred to the Decaturville Circuit. "I served as a supply preacher in the Memphis Shelby district prior to my first appointment".
Much time was spent in preparation before he actually served a church. He took correspondent courses and attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as treasurer to the Pastor's fellowship for the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
Rev. Melton served in the 88th Infantry division in Africa and Italy during World War II and received the Bronze Star for meritorious service in combat in October 1944. In speaking of the youth of today, the minister said, "I feel that the youth of our community are being neglected to a certain extent and that the Christian people within our community should be more evangelistic and carry the whole gospel to the whole man. This Gospel is for all persons," he said.
The versatile personality served as Auxiliary Probating Officer for Shelby County Juvenile Court and was dedicated to help the youth.
Born in Whiteville, Tennessee, he is the son of Mrs. O. C. Melton and the late Mr. Melton. He has one sister, Mrs. Loraine Raines of Memphis and one brother, Rev. James O. Melton of Nesbett, Missouri. He is married to the former Miss Grace Johnson of Carthage, Mississippi, and they have of one daughter, Mrs. Joanne Phoebald of Albany, Georgia and two grandchildren.
"We love our church people and the parsonage and we are going to enjoy our stay serving God in Decatur County," he concluded.
New Parsonages Spring-Up In District
By Lillye Younger
DECATURVILLE — New parsonages in the Lexington District of the Memphis Conference United Methodist Church are like Mexican jumping beans. You never quite know where they are going to pop up next.
Within the last six years eight new parsonages were built in the Lexington district. This conference year is no exception. Three new parsonages have bounced through erection to underscore ministers and their families.
The most recent parsonage is the Mount Carmel-Mount Lebanon-Mount Concord charge on the Decaturville circuit. The three bedroom brick structure was completed in May of this year at the cost of $17,500. It is located one mile south of Decaturville in the spectacularly beautiful blue water country. It is fashioned with a living-dining room area, three bedrooms, two baths, a family room, study and kitchen. It is hyphenated by a two car connecting garage.
The modern parsonage has a central gas heating and cooling system.
Open house was held on Aug. 18, Members of the three churches as well as friends dropped by to view the new building.
"The former parsonage located east of Decaturville on the Perryville highway was inadequate," Rev. Charles Leist, pastor, pointed out. "It was quite small for a family of six especially on Sunday when we were all getting ready for Sunday School and Church services." This parsonage was sold.
He and Mrs. Leist have three teenagers and a youngster four years of age. This is the second year he has served the Mount Carmal-Mount Lebanon-Mount Concord charge.
"We are thoroughly enjoying the spacious well lighted new parsonage," Rev. Leist added. The breath taking view overlooking the countryside in the early morning gets me off to a good start." Aside from preaching he also teaches at Parsons Junior High School.
A new parsonage was constructed on the Camden Circuit which is composed of Flatwoods, Liberty, Morris Chapel and Post Oak churches. They built a three bedroom, two bath parsonage at the cost of $18,000. The Rev. Harry Goldsmith is the pastor on this circuit.
The third parsonage to be completed within the conference is on the McLemorsville-Trezevant charge. It is a three bedroom, two bath brick at the cost of $20,000. Serving the charge is the Rev. Layne Shanklin.
It is a fact that parsonages for Methodist pastors have been upgraded in the Lexington district within the past sax years.
Pastor Honored By First Church
FRIENDSHIP, Tenn. — A pot-luck supper and "pounding" honored the Rev. Jasper D. Wilford, new pastor of the First Methodist Church here.
The Rev. Wilford is formerly of the Adamsville Church. He has served in Tennessee. Kentucky and Idaho. and was an Army chaplain in World War II.
He was born in Sedalia, Ky., attended school there and Murray State College. He is married and has three sons.
The Rev. Wilford is a native of the Memphis Conference and has pastored churches in Obion, Gates and _____.
By Lillye Younger
The Macedonian call of the first century has been answered by Christians down through the years.
The Rev. and Mrs. Elton Watlington of Jackson, commissioned missionaries of the Methodist Church, have just returned after serving ten years on the mission field in Lima, Peru.
In 1956 the Watlingtons set out on their mission to serve in Lima. "I served as pastor of a Lima church the first three years we were there," Mr. Watlington explained. His wife served as a teacher in their Methodist mission.
He has taken active parts in social projects and studies in the promotion of planned parenthood in Peru. For the past six years he has been director of the Institute for Christian Workers of the Methodist Church, an educational school geared to church leadership training. He also was executive director of the Lima District and treasurer of the General Board of Missions, World Division in Peru.
"In the past the major efforts of the missions were channeled into schools because of legal restrictions on church activity," he pointed out. As a result of his efforts they have four larger schools and several smaller ones.
The Rev. Watlington explained that the work of the church has spread to almost all phases of life in Peru. Peru is a Provisional Annual Conference with 55 churches and preaching points served by 24 ministers and accepted supply ministers and all but five being nationals.
In four of the metropolitan churches is concentrated more than one-half of the membership and giving capacity of the Methodist Church in Peru with each of the four self-supporting.
"Within the past ten years the church has revealed a vital concern for the social problems in Peru, with the Social Center of La Florida as the first project of this type sponsored by any protestant church in Peru," Watlington stated.
Just before leaving Peru Watlington attended the Central District Conference held in Chanchamayo Valley of East Central Peru. The pastors focused their attention on the mission of the church in rural areas.
In January, after having completed their second five year term in Peru, the Watlingtons returned to the United States to speak to churches of this area about the mission in Peru. Their schedule of visits to sponsoring churches and women's societies has been coordinated through the Methodist Dept. of Field Interpretation in New York. In describing the transition Watlington wrote his friends in Peru, "the schedule is different, the faces are new, the opportunities for service are great and the pace is fast."
Since his return he has attended the Rall Lectures at Garrett Theological Seminary and held a siminar on "Teenagers" at Lambuth College in Jackson. He also has had 13 engagements in the Dyersburg District of the Memphis Annual Conference in four days.
He plans to study toward a Master of Sacred Theology degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School this fall. He will return to Jackson each weekend to be with his family. He has definite plans to return to Peru in the future.
The Watlington's are natives of Madison County with their home church being Malesus Methodist Church, which also has the honor of having a third missionary in the field, Miss Louise Morris, who is serving in Japan as a special-term missionary.
Watlington is a graduate of Lambuth College and the Garrett Theological Institute at Evanston, Ill. They will be in the states until February 1968.
They have four children: Martha 18, who will enter Lambuth this fall, Joe 13, Mary 10, Andy 2. They reside at ____ Acres Dr. in Jackson.
Hopewell Baptist Church Holds Dedication Service
By Lillye Younger
PARSONS, Tenn. —The new church building of the Hopewell Baptist church was dedicated Sunday Oct. 22 at the 1:30 p.m. service.
The Rev. Floyd Rogers presented the dedicatory message and the Rev. Lavon Moody led the dedication prayer. Special music was furnished by Miss Iris Riggs who sang "Bless This House" followed by a trio composed of Mrs. Sybern Riggs, Misses Iris and Linda Riggs. The Rev. Paul Shell, pastor of Parsons First Baptist Church, closed the dedication service with a prayer.
The new building is located three and one half mites east of Parsons on the Mouse Tail Road. It is the third church building to be located at the present location. Its name derived from a wish which resulted from conflicts among sister churches. Established sometime in the 1800's an early member suggested naming the church, "Hopewell" in hopes that it will do well. Thus today it has lived up to that aged old wish.
HOPEWELL BAPTIST CHURCH—The recently dedicated Hopewell Baptist Church of Parsons has many church records that date back to 1900 which include the record of the pastor's yearly salary of $68.70. Church leaders, in front of the new building are, from left, Albert Ivey, Dossie Campbell and Henry Rhodes.
The Beginnings Of The Memphis Conference
Lewis Garrett. Jr. and Benjamin Peeples met in this building, the Old Land
in McLemoresville. Tenn., in 1820 to begin work as missionaries to the Jackson Purchase.
This picture was taken in 1959 and the building has burned since that time.
The Memphis Conference has been a Methodist Conference of record since May 22. 1840 when it was authorized by General Conference seated that year in Baltimore. Md. However. Methodist activity in this area predates that General Conference action by more than 20 years.
The geographical area covered by the Memphis Conference was purchased from the Chackasaw Indians by the government on October 19, 1818 for the sum of $300,000 which was to be paid in 15 annual installments of $20,000. Although officially designated the Chickasaw Treaty of 1818, it became known as The Jackson Purchase after ex-governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky and Andrew Jackson of Tennessee were given responsibility for working out details of the transaction with the Indians. Methodist circuit riders had been preaching to the Indians and scattered white settlers for an unknown number of years prior to the Chickasaw Treaty, however.
Possibly taking its cue from John Wesley — "the world is my parish" —Methodists organized Possibly taking its cue from John Wesley — "the world in my parrish" — Methodists organized the Western Conference at Bethel Academy in Kentucky in 1800. The Western Conference included all of the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains from Canada to Florida. Bishop Francis Asbury presided at its meeting of 1808 when five Districts — Holston, Cumberland, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio — reported a total membership of 15,997.
That Conference also elected William McKendree to the episcopacy and he served the church with distinction in the years that lay ahead.
The Western Conference was twelve years old when the Ohio and Tennessee Conferences were formed from its territory, putting an end to the Western Conference. Near present day Portland, the Tennessee Conference was formally organized by Bishops Asbury and McKendree in a session beginning on November 12, 1812 at a place called Fountain Head. Its territory covered most if not all of the present day states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, southern Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
The Tennessee Annual Conference met in Hopkinsville, Ky. in 1820. At the end of the appointments, not attached to a specific District, is to be found the following appointment: "Missionaries to that part of Jackson's Purchase embraced in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, Hezekiah Holland and Lewis Garrett." It appears in various records that Holland did not go to the appointment and Benjamin Peeples went in his place. Garrett and Peeples, then, met some time later at the public land office in McLemoresville where they agreed to make that the dividing point between their fields of labor, Garrett taking the southern part and Peeples the northern section.
Although that was the official starting point of work in what later became known as the Memphis Conference, it is learned from old records that during the ensuing year, Benjamin Peeples set up the Sandy River Circuit. The circuit was built around an already established church known as Manley's Chapel and had been organized by the Reverend John Manley, a local preacher, who had preceded the official appointee by some years. Peeples promptly made it an official church of the Tennessee Conference.
The members of the Concord United Methodist Church, shown above, on the Decaturville Circuit, had recently completed an addition to the 106-year old church. The church was first known as the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the land for the church was given by Ruben White on August 7, 1869. In 1964 the building watt bricked. Since that time, new pews, carpeting and stained glass windows have been added. In 1973 an addition of a fellowship hall with two baths was started at ____ an approximate cost of $7,000. Recently this was paid and a note burning ceremony was held. Shown above from l-r are: P. W. Welch and Earl Brigance, trustees and _____ of the church, James W. Cotham, as the note is burned. It was a special occasion for the membership of 116. The church held its centennial celebration _____.
By Lillye Younger
An experience one September night in 1919 while riding the Peavine train from Lexington to Parsons changed the course in the life of the Rev. James A. Overton, 65, retired Baptist Minister.
"It was right after World War I," Rev. Overton recalled, "I had been to an associational meeting at the First Baptist Church in Lexington to hear the late Rev. A. N. Nunnery speak. He described, in graphic form, the need for dedicated men in the war town world and it was this background that caused me to have the feeling I ought to become a minister of the gospel. I felt preaching the gospel was what the Lord wanted me to do."
"The road hasn't been easy but rewarding," he smiled and said." The fact that I know I am whether the Lord wants me has made a joy in my life."
The pastor's active ministry began in 1926 at Good Hope Baptist Church near McCrory, Ark. He served as pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church near Parsons while attending college at Union University in Jackson in 1928. He graduated from Quachica College in Arkadelphia, Ark. where he pastored the Second Baptist Church.
Other places he has served are First Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Parsons, Carlsbad Baptist Church in New Mexico. "My last pastory was at the First Baptist Church in Mark Tree, Ark.," he explained. Here he led the building of a $250,000 sanctuary and church building which was dedicated on April 2 this year.
"I have witnessed the salvation of a thousand or more souls and have baptized about 700 or more during my active ministry," he noted. He has held revivals at Humboldt and surrounding areas and preached at churches in the Jackson area while in school at Union.
His work is not over. "I feel like spending the rest of my active ministry helping as many churches as possible who need help," he added. I expect to be a busy supply pastor for those who are away and serve as interim pastor of churches in West Tennessee. I'm going to be as busy ever," he said, "after having served for the past 41 years. I already have two revivals scheduled for this summer."
When asked why he came Parsons for his retirement he said, "I have a lot of good friends in Parsons and we wanted to be close to our relatives."
Rev. Overton was born and reared at Clifton, Tennessee in Wayne County. He came from a generation of preachers. His father, the late Z. H. Overton and his grandfather Overton both were Baptist ministers.
Log Church Revival
"Site of Log Church, built 1847, removed 1962'' is inscribed on the marble plaque near top of left column. Here a revival is being held by the Camp Ground Presbyterian, continuing thru this week. Services are at 7:30 each evening, and the pastor and, congregation have invited all to come and hear the Reverend Julian Maxadent of Lexington speak.
By Lillye Younger
There are many new faces walking up and down the streets of Parsons. Some are the "Dressed Up" persons, who wear a smile and speak to everyone they meet.
Immediately we suspect they are preachers and most of the time we are correct. Well, that is so true when you meet this slender silver haired gentleman, with a broad smile and a friendly greeting.
It is none other than the new pastor of Parsons First United Presbyterian Church. Rev. Harold Reeves and Mrs. Reeves arrived in our fair city about a week ago and are enjoying decorating the Manse with their own furniture.
"I love Parsons," the devoted minister admitted. "It's spread out and is the biggest little town I ever saw." The minister admits that he no problem in getting along with people and in his 37 years in the ministry has never served a church that didn't want him to continue serving when moving rolled around.
"I was like the great Apostle Paul, fought the call to preach for quite some time, however I knew that was what I should do," Rev. Reeves turned and said. He accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of 24 and prior to that time his life was quite different, he brings out in his conversation. "I was converted in the fall and the next spring I entered to the ministry. He was ordained at Erin, Tennessee in 1940.
Rev. Reeves started his ministry by serving in the mission work at Stayton, Mo. "I served churches without pastors and had seven churches," he said. "The temperature here the first winter got down to a low of 21 degrees below zero."
In 1942 the minister served at Lebanon, Missouri. Here he remained for eight years as pastor of White Oak Pond Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It received its name from a cluster of white oak trees. In 1949 he moved to Cameron, Mo., and served the Berming Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 16 years.
One year later the ingenious minister decided to "hang up the Fiddle and the Bow" and retire. He moved to Santa Aura, California. It took only one year of retirement to do him. In 1967 he moved back to Tennessee and served churches at Trimble and Mason Hall.
"I became so dissatisfied that first year in California, especially on Sunday, I could hardly get through each week end," Rev. Reeves said.
Alter serving these two churches wanderlust returned and the minister and his family moved back to California the second time but this time it lasted only four mouths. They moved back and he served Mt. Olive Cumberland Church in Dyer and from there he went to Burnt Prairie, Ill., and served as pastor.
He came from this church to Parsons First Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Jokingly, yet with more than fiction, the minister explained his work prior to his ordination. "I was a carpenter by trade, electrician by choice, plumber by accident and preacher by force," Meaning of course thai God's call was so inch stronger.
Born in Erin, Tennessee, October 31, 1910, he has one sister a half sister and a brother. His father died when he was only ten years of age and his mother passed away in 1926.
A graduate of Erin High School he received his Theology training at Missouri School of Religion, Columbus, and has taken home study courses for six years.
With a determined gleam in his eyes he explained _________ here. "I want to build confidence in the church and the people in any possible way I can."
The parents of Rev. Neel, one deceased, the other, Mrs. Bonny Jane Wettestine of Santa Ana, California, the couple reside at 403 Florida Avenue. They have two granddaughters.
By Lillye Younger
It has been said that work and prayer are the two forces which are gradually making a better world.
This statement applies to a new corner and his family who have recently moved to Parsons. It's the Rev. Doyle Neal, newly elected pastor of the First Baptist Church, who hails from Allen Baptist Church in Memphis, near Raleigh.
Having been reared in Texas, the Rev. Neal received his call to preach in an unusual way. "I was sitting in my Sunday School Class one Sunday when I heard the words, Doyle, you are going to preach." Turning to the boy sitting next to me I said, "What did you say?" and he said "Nothing." Again I heard the same voice and realized this was the voice of God. After Sunday School I sang in the choir and while sitting there I felt very strange, I had never felt this way. In fact, I felt ten feet high and I pondered over these words all day. Then I said, "Lord, if that's what you want, I'll preach." He was in high school al this time and college days were ahead.
It was while he was in college he started in the ministry and was called to Carson Baptist Church in Zwolle, La. which was a part time church.
"My wife and I drove 130 miles one way to the church from our home in Marshall, Texas. We were the first ones there and the last ones to leave," he said. When asked if he felt any fear when he preached his first sermon he replied, "No, when the Lord is in it there is no fear."
After receiving his degree the family moved to Dallas to be near the Seminary at Fort Worth but "The Lord never did open that door for me," he explained. "Here I took a job in a department store and worked at Buckner Church Children's Home part time. Then I was called to Clover Bottom Baptist Church in Dallas, later resigning and accepting full time work as house parents at Buckner Church's children home, having my wife to help here." The couple served in this capacity for 14 months. "It was rough on my wife working here. We had a three year old son and a six month old daughter." From there he was called to Little Rock to serve as Musical Educational Director at the Life Line Baptist Church and served here for three years. Then the minister went to Kensett, Arkansas where he served as pastor of the First Baptist Church.
"I missed the music department and thought I should go back into it so I moved to Monticello Baptist Church near West Helena, Arkansas. Here I served as associate pastor and musical director for 14 months. I realized that the music department was not for me so I went to Barton Baptist Church at Barton, Ark. and served here three years." From here the dedicated minister was called to serve the Allen Baptist Church in Memphis, near Raleigh and served here around nine years.
The Lord called again so he came to serve the First Baptist Church in Parsons. "I don't seek any place to serve, the Lord always calls me," he explained.
"My goal here is to seethe church grow spiritually and win people to Christ."
The pastor's day begins around 6 a.m. when he takes an easy stroll to the church. Here he spends time in meditation, prayer and major studying at the birth of a new day. "It's such a good time," he noted. "It's very quiet and calm." Then later he greets the world, refreshed and ready to do the will of God.
His afternoons are taken up in visiting the sick, shut-ins, and those hospitalized as well as those in the nursing home. A scheduled visiting program will be initiated in the near future for the church. "My objective here is to be in every member's borne in the future," he explained. "However it may take me two years."
Not only will the new pastor minister to his membership but outside the church also. "I plan to be a community pastor, in a sense, as all pastors are. I enjoy people, they make a town". He admitted that he feels like the Lord has called him to serve small town churches rather than city ones.
The brunette personality turned and said, "I realize that if I preach the word, visit the hospitals, are with them in death, perform marriage ceremonies, and show concern, I've done my pastorate work. I may be criticized by my Lord for other things but not for these," he admitted.
Rev. Neal holds a B.A. Degree, majoring in religion from East Texas Baptist College in Marshall, Texas.
His hobbies include golf, soft ball, and bowling. He belonged to a bowling team in Memphis and the talented musician also plays the guitar.
Romance entered the picture during his college days when he was a Sophomore. His friend, who was dating a young lady, asked him to pick up a girl and double date with them one evening. Having met no one in whom he was interested, he told him he would look around. Later in the day the friend asked him if he had found someone and he said he hadn't and for them to go ahead on their date. The friend refused, so he decided he would look more diligently. It was in the dining hall at the evening meal that he started looking and nearly everyone had filed out, yet he hadn't seen anyone interesting. He looked up and saw two blondes, one tall and the other shorter. "I knew that I wasn't interested in the tall one so I asked the short one for a date and she agreed." Jokingly he said that he had three dates with her before he knew her name. "I was too embarrassed," he admitted.
He later married the blonde who was the former Jonne Jennigen of Palestine, Texas and they are the parents of a daughter, Diane, who is a Sophomore at East Texas Baptist College in Marshall, Texas and a son, Danny, who is married, living in Little Rock.
The son of the late Orrilla Hoyt Neal and Ms. Julia Anne Neal of Kountz, Texas, the minister has two brothers and three sisters, Foye and Hoyte, who are twins and are from Sour Lake, Texas and Kountz, Texas, Lawanda of St. Louis, Reba of Nacogdoches, Texas and Hudson Neal of Port, Texas.
Fifty years in the ministry is quite a longtime however one former Decatur Countian has just such a record and more.
Rev. James Floyd Rogers, pastor of Sand Ridge Baptist Church near Lexington, was ordained as a minister on November 8, 1918, at South Royal Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee.
"I received the call to preach when I was 16, however I failed to heed it until I was 18," the minister admits.
Serving as song leader at a revival at this early age, he explains just how he received the call to preach. "It happened after services one night. I was walking across a small stream and as I reached a mound of moss, the Lord spoke to me as real as any person and said, "I want you to preach." Like the great Biblical leader, Moses, the young man answered, "I can't." Being a very timid lad, he felt like it would be impossible to stand in the pulpit and preach the word of God.
"During those two years I resisted the call, I became a cripple from rheumatism and had to walk with the aid of crutches. Finally I realized my punishment was more than I could bear and it was while I was attending Union University in Jackson that I answered the call. After I did, I was able to walk without crutches and my ailment left me" he explains. "I had to preach or die," he continued.
Vividly recalling his first sermon, which was at Pinson, Tennessee, he said that after 15 minutes of preaching he "ran out of soap" so to speak. He chose John 3:16 as his scripture but it seemed his message was quite short so he just called for a song. Not so now, after all these years, not only has he lost his timidity but he has gained in subject matter and he can hold his audience spellbound for an hour or so, take or give a little.
"I think one thing that caused my "stage fright" during my first sermon was that eight of my minister friends came to boost me up and instead of boosting me up, I was more self-conscious," the veteran minister said.
He pastored small churches during his college days at Union University where he received his AB degree. Including these were calls to Brighton Baptist Church and Henning Baptist Church where he served for three years.
The soft spoken slender minister explains that he received his Master's degree at Southwestern Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas. While in Texas he pastored the First Baptist Church in Wortham, Texas and the First Baptist Church at Madisonville, Texas.
After his stretch in Texas Uncle Sam called him and he served as Chaplain In World War II. He was inducted at Camp Crowder, Missouri and went to Iran and Iraq.
The highlight of his military service was when he was stationed at Tele Vie. "I was in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Cani of Gililee, which was the place Jesus performed His first miracle." Also he spent the night on the sea of Galilee which is 14 miles long and eight miles wide. Here he took a boat ride and went in swimming. He also visited the Dead Sea, Jericho and Bethlehem.
The Holy Land left such a lasting impression on him that he makes it come alive as he lectures to churches. One man remarked, after hearing his lecture, that it seemed as if he was visiting the Holy Land, it was so real.
Having served churches all over West Tennessee and parts of Texas during his ministry, he smiled and said, "If I had it all to do over, I wouldn't change my decision to heed the call to preach."
Still going strong, he has made great stride in the three years he has served Sand Ridge Baptist Church. Seventy persons have been added to the church by profession of faith and a number by letter. A new brick parsonage has been erected and the church debt on the sanctuary has been paid off and the sanctuary dedicated. The church has shown the greatest gain within the past three years than any other period in its history.
Retirement holds no flavor for the enthusiastic minister, nor perhaps never will. With his vim and vigor, he has the sparkle of one half his age.
Born March 1, 1898 in Middlebirg, Tennessee he is the son of the late R. L. Rogers and Matilda Todd Rogers. His family consisted of four brothers and two sisters.
He is married to the former Annie Townsend Dodd and they live in the new parsonage at Sand Ridge Community.
Room Is Dedicated To Mrs. Pratt
By Lillye Younger
Rev. Willard Watson and Mrs. Imogene Pratt, president of the Tennie V. Arnold Group were in charge of the dedication of the room furnished at Parsons United Methodist Church in memory of Mrs. Opal Pratt, faithful member who has served this Sunday School group for a number of years prior to her death.
Mrs. Pratt gave a very impressive resume of the life of the deceased, explaining about her outstanding work in serving as president of the Tennie V. Arnold Group, as well as her other outstanding traits of character, one of which was never saying an unkind word of another.
Mrs. Pratt called on Miss Robbie Latta, chairman of the Memorial Committee, to stand by her side, as well as Mrs. Dewey Britt, daughter of Mrs. Opal Pratt. She introduced other members of the committee, Mrs. Terrell McIllwain, Mrs. Frank Floyd, Mrs. Joe Jetton and Rev. Willard Watson.
She asked Mrs. Britt for a word if she desired, and she expressed the appreciation the Pratt family have to the church for this memorial and thanked them very graciously for the thoughtfulness and acknowledgement of her mother's work in the church.
Mr. John Woodside presented Mrs. Britt with plaque and special mention of the outstanding work of the males who assisted in this project, namely Mr. Joe Jetton and the pastor, Rev. Watson.
Members of the Tennie V. Arnold Group stood for recognition in that this was their project, yet it was financed by members of the church and others from out-of-state, which included Mr. Joe Marshall, a staunch member of the church, now living in Orlando, Florida.
Rev. Watson spoke words of praise and welcomed the family of Mrs. Pratt who were present and insisted that each one tour the room and enjoy the beauty which loving hands and monetary gifts have made possible.
It will be of great service to the church and a living memorial in the form of a Sunday School Room for the very young of the church.
Those from the family attending were Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Britt, Mrs. Mable Cottrell and Sherry Cottrell, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Maness and Mr. and Mrs. Grady Smith and Miss Pam Britt. Mrs. Cottrell was a sister of the deceased and Mr. Smith a brother.
According to our history the First Baptist Church, Parsons, Tennessee, first worshiped at the home of Mr. Ike Buckner in the north section of the town of Parsons for it was there that the church was organized around 1890. Later around 1891 the church worshiped in an old frame building in the 3rd block of South Tennessee Avenue which was built by Mr. Ike Buckner. In 1917 a new brick building was erected on the present site and in 1952 an education building was added to the structure.
We dedicate a new place of worship June 16, 1974. The ador of faithful members of our congregation has come into fruition. We pray that this place may be dedicated for worship of the true God, study of His word, and the fellowship of Christians. One may say of our new auditorium that "This is a place of worship."
Dr. Carl Robbins, Jackson district superintendent of the Memphis Conference, left, and the Rev. Pittman Marbury conducted groundbreaking ceremonies for St. Andrew's new educational annex. In background are three members of the building committee, from left, Dewey Baker, V. L. Taylor and David Horton.
The Rev. Mrs. C. E. Boose, the first woman minister ordained by the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church, greets two more well-wishers following a conference session at Lambuth College Chapel. Mrs. Boose was honored as a retiring minister Monday evening, although she will continue preaching at the Sardis Circuit in the Lexington District.
OLD CHURCH DESTROYED — The New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church located near Parsons is being torn down after standing for 68 years. A new $8,300 brick building will replace the old church. The church has grown from a membership of 66 in 1915 to 176 members today.
By Lillye Younger
Among newcomers to Decatur County is a Methodist minister and his family, Rev. and Mrs. James Charles Cooper who hails from Whitehaven United Methodist Church in Memphis.
The pastor's active ministry began in Scotland where he served as associate pastor of the United Methodist Church for a year. After returning to the states he served his first charge at McLemorsville and Trezavant United Methodist churches. "There was considerable differences in the two fields of service," he explained.
When asked why he chose the ministry he said "I suppose a lot of it has to do with growing up in the church." As a youth he attended church at Blakemore United Methodist church in Nashville from Kindergarten through high school. "The ministers and youth directors here had a strong effect upon my life." An outstanding pastor who served here was Rev. Wallace Chappel. The brown haired youthful personality said, "I believe in a called ministry."
Rev. Cooper served as associate pastor at Whitehaven. "Here I served under the ministry of Rev Harold Townsend who was a great help to me." Visiting the sick and shut in was a part of his service. "The Senior Citizens are at home all day and one becomes very close to them in the ministry. I enjoy working with this group," he said.
The day in the life of a minister was explained by the newcomer.
"I arise around 7 a.m. and stay in the church office all morning where I am engaged in Bible Study, Prayer and Sermon preparation". His afternoons are taken up visiting shut-ins, and church members and many of his evenings are spent visiting prospective members. "I leave some evenings for my family." He works with all age groups and said his office is open to them at any time. Counseling is one of his services.
His goal in life is to perform a responsible pastoral ministry and be a good husband and~ father. "I enjoy a pastorial ministry and have no desire to become a District Superintendent.
Since he has been here such a short lime he hasn't had time to get a view of the panaroma however he said "The scenery is beautiful." He has yet to view the Tennessee River area.
"We chose to serve here," he explained. One reason might be that he is well acquainted with Rev. Craig Jordan, pastor of Decaturville United Methodist Church. "We roomed together in college," he explained
"Not only from the stand point that Parsons has a good church to serve but a good place to rear our children. It's nice to be out close to open land," he said.
Romance entered the picture while the minister was attending Lambuth College. Here he met and married Miss Arlene Ress of New York in 1968. "When I entered Lambuth I had no thought of marriage," he smiled and said.
The couple are the parents of two sons, Scott, age four and Christopher 18 months.
Rev. Cooper holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke and his wife majored in education and is a teacher.
The pastor has already started visiting and hopes to soon become acquainted with his congregation
The day in the life of a minister is very busy, challenging and rewarding.
Mr. Guy F. Hester, new minister of Parsons Church of Christ says his day is filled with visitations, counseling, sermon preparation and clerical work.
"As long as I cam remember I had the desire to be a minister", Mr. Hister said.
Born at Vernon, Alabama he is the son et Mr. and Mrs. S. F. Hester of Clarksville, Tennessee. He is the oldest of three brothers who also are preachers as well as his father who is minister at Needmore Church of Church in Clarksville.
"My father bad a great influence on my life," he admits. "My goal has been to follow in his footsteps."
Alter graduating from high school at Parrish, Alabama, Mr. Hester served a two year stretch in the U.S. Army. Following his discharge he returned to Parrish where he served at the Hatt Church of Christ. Later he moved near Terre Haute, Indiana, where he ministered the church and attended Indiana State University. He also attended Freed Hardeman College at Henderson, Tennessee. "The churches I served while attending college were a great help to we towards the advancement of my education."
The young minister said, "I really always intended to become a minister but just put it oft." He has been preaching full time since 1961. Prior to that time be mixed his ministerial work with that of a salesman. The soft spoken man looked up and said, "Salesmanship and preaching are very much akin." He came to Parsons from the Ripley Church of Christ at Ripley, Tennessee where he served there for three years.
"We like it fine here." he remarked. "I think the people in Parsons are very friendly." His goal is to work locally with the church and continue to build up the local congregation.
Mr. Hester has just returned from a weeks gospel meeting at Gates, Tennessee. "I enjoy holding Gospel Meetings. I hold from fair to six meetings each year," he added.
With a gleam in his eyes he expressed his greatest ambition when be turned and said, "I visualize getting into some business which will enable me to support my family so that I will be able to work with some small congregation that is not financially able to support a full time minister. He has offered his services to smaller congregations in Decatur County.
Married to the former Shirley Darrough of Parrish, Alabama, the couple have two daughters, Connie l5 and Jalema, two years of age and two sons, Ferrell 9 and Timothy 4.
By Lillye Younger
Page 2 The News Leader, Parsons, Tenn., September 7, 1972
The day in the life of a minister is very busy, challenging and rewarding.
Mr. Bobby Pinkley, new pastor of Parsons Church of Christ, agrees with the statement and admits that his day begins at 6:30 a.m. with his quiet being shattered by the alarm clock.
"I have no trouble awaking," the youthful minister said, "and my day usually ends around 10:30 p.m." Throughout the hours he spends his morning at the study preparation for the busy schedule.
"I also record my daily devotional over WTBP Radio Station at 12:15 and visit the sick in the hospital." His afternoons are filled with visiting in the homes and becoming better acquainted with the congregation. He also does quite a bit of personal evangelism and has meetings at the church during the week, especially Bible Study on each Wednesday evening.
Mr. Pinkley explains that he is engaged in revival services during the summer months and has held revivals in nine states. "I usually preach four revivals each year," he explained. His is engaged in counseling with those in trouble of any description and has the knack of understanding each person's personal problem and helping them tremendously.
Born near Lexington, Tenn., at Parkers Crossroads, he is the son of the late Mr. Thomas Franklin Pinkley and Mrs. Eva Pinkley, who is 83 years of age. He has four sisters and two brothers.
"My oldest brother is a Church of Christ minister," he said "and my father was an Elder in the church." His foreparents always were active in the Church of Christ. He made mention of a distant relative who was instrumental in establishing the Roans Creek Church of Christ in Carroll County, which dates back to 1823 and is the second oldest congregation in the United States.
The 39 year old minister didn't enter the ministry after graduation but operated and owned a filling station in Memphis. When asked who had the greatest influence on his life, he hesitated and then admitted perhaps it was his older brother who entered the ministry when he was 42 years of age.
"I enjoy the challenge that the ministry provides plus the opportunity of serving persons. We have a great challenge in calling people back to God," he said. He strives to help persons in their physical needs as well as in their spiritual needs. "One of my joys," he continued "is the marriage ceremony." He admits that as far as he knows he has never conducted a wedding ceremony of a couple who have divorced. The ingenious minister has great ability in sharing the sorrow of those who have lost loved ones.
After graduating from high school at Clarksburg, Tenn., and entering the business world, Mr. Pinkley furthered his education at Freed Hardeman College where he received his A.A. degree and at David Lipscomb College in Nashville where he received his B.A. degree, majoring in Bible and minoring in Biology. He has worked toward his M.A. degree at Harding Graduate School in Memphis. Presently he is serving as vice president of the Alumni Board of Freed Hardeman College in Henderson.
Entering the ministry in 1961 he served at Waynesboro Church of Christ until 1966. From 1966 until 197l he served at Sitka Church of Christ near Milan, Tenn., and he served at the Cherokee Church of Christ in Cherokee, Ala., from 1970 until 1972 when he accepted the pastorate of Parsons Church of Christ.
With a gleam in his eyes he said, "I think its wonderful living in Parsons, the people are very friendly and it's almost home to me." "I hope that, with the help of God, that I may be able to lead the people here closer to Christ and the good life that we may achieve a greater appreciation for the word of God and the Bible," he concluded.
Married to the former Helen Todd of Wildersville, Tenn., the couple have five children: Wanda, 15, Wayne, 12, Amy, 8, David, 5, and Joy Helen, 3. They reside at the Church of Christ parsonage.
By Lillye Younger
The News Leader, Parsons, Tenn., June 2, 1976
A Decatur County minister has chalked up 46 years of service for the Lord and was honored on his 40th anniversary at the same church.
Rev. J. J. Douglas, Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, began his ministry in 1930, during the lean years. "The first church I served was at Beacon," the stocky built preacher said. "And the first revival I held was about a month after I was ordained," he continued. It was at Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church on 69 Highway North.
An incident which happened while he was quiet inexperienced in the field was a wedding. "I thought there would be only a few present," he smiled and said, "but the night of the wedding the church was almost filled." Despite the fact he had studied the ceremony quite a bit, it seemed it wasn't enough when he scanned the congregation. Having become "Quite Weak-kneed," he admits that he finally got through it. After the ceremony the groom asked hum how much he owed him and he told him whatever he thought it was worth and the young man handed him a quarter. That one incident has really stuck in the minister's mind.
Other churches he has served are Campground Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cross Roads, Sugar Tree, McIllwain, Oak Grove and Palestine, which he is presently serving and has served for the last 40 years.
On Mother's Day Rev. Douglas and his wife were honored with a surprise service at the church which he started pastoring in 1936.
"I knew something was in the air when I saw my 95 year old dad walking down the aisle and my two daughters and their families, three great grandchildren and Mr. and Mrs. Jethro Tubbs come in." Emotions ran high at this point of the service for the minister.
At the noon hour a delectable meal was served on the ground which included everything from corn light bread to "Sock it to me" Cake.
The couple were presented a plaque by the oldest elder of the church, Mr. Leo Brewer and a beautiful cake in the shape of a Bible, edged in black with red pages and lettering at the top which read "Well done thou good and faithful Servant."
Afternoon refreshments included cake and punch served from a table centered with an arrangement of fresh roses.
The church also presented them with a "Paid Vacation" of their choice. The church preferred a trip to the Holy Land. However, due to ill health, the minister chose a deep sea fishing trip to Florida in the future.
Many souls have been saved under Rev. Douglas' ministry and a record of 170 members added to the church. He has also helped erect new church buildings.
By Lillye Younger
Page 6 The News Leader, Parsons, Tenn., July 6, 1972
Among new corners to Decatur County are two very devoted young missionaries, namely Elder Blame G. Waddoups, 21, and Elder Clifton Southam, 19. Elder Waddoups hails from the Indian country of Blackfoot, Idaho and Elder Southam from Vernal, Utah, the Mormon State.
They represent the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints and are serving in the Kentucky-Tennessee mission out of Louisville, Kentucky.
The volunteer missionaries explained that they are serving a two year stretch in the mission fields. This opportunity is available to men ages 19 through 26 and to women ages 21 through 26. To take advantage of this opportunity one is required to pass a rigid examination, given by the Bishop. "Some older couples also work in this field," Elder Waddoups explained.
The unique thing about the program is that these men go out in pairs without any financial aid from the church. "I worked two years and saved my money before going out," the Elder explained. Elder Southam said, "Sometimes the going gets rough from a financial standpoint." Also there is no paid ministry in this church.
In listing their objectives in the mission fields, the young men explained that they are here first of all to clear up false ideas circulated about the Mormon church, whose temple is located In Salt Lake City, Utah.
"So many have read books containing fictional explanations concerning the Mormon church and this is untrue," Elder Waddoups said, however our main objective is to convince Jews and Gentiles that Jesus Is the Christ. Their third mission is to contact interested persons who desire to learn about the Mormon faith.
In explaining briefly the faith he said, "The organization of the church comes first, then we believe in a living prophet and 12 living Apostles. We also believe in the same organization that existed in Christ's ancient church." The church provides for the needs of members of all ages. The young children are taught what Christ wants them to do and mutual improvement association are organized for the teenagers and young adults which includes music, sports and drama.
United Stales womens relief society is the oldest continuous woman's organization in the world. It fosters culture and education among members and also helps the sick, poor and needy.
In connection to the part men play, the youth explains that all worthy males 12 years and older hold the priesthood, the authority to act in the name of God. At the Priesthood meetings they study the responsibilities and are sent as ministers to other churches to serve. The men always take the leadership and the women help out.
These missionaries have a very rigid schedule to keep. "We arise at 6:30" and after breakfast, which of course, they prepare, we study from eight to 10 a.m. each morning, they explained. Their afternoons and evenings are filled with personal contacts. Wednesday is a rest day and that's the day they fill their cupboard. "We are kinda disappointed that this is the day the stores close in Parsons."
On Sunday services are held at Short Creek branch of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, located in Perry County.
"We have membership totaling around 250 which include Decatur Countians as well as Perry Countians. The messages are always presented by the laymen and the Missionaries speak when their time rolls around.
The unique thing about the church is it's the same as it would be in Japan or elsewhere in the world. Every local church believes and teaches the same thing. Their mode of baptism is by immersion which includes those from eight years of age up.
Elder Waddoups turned and with a sparkle in his eyes admitted, "I've gained 20 pounds since I came to this section two months ago." Elder Southam has been here only one month.
"I love this section, I came from a small town," Elder Waddoups concluded and Elder Southam chirped, "It's not like home," with a wishful glent in his eye, "but I like it, the people are so friendly and make you feel at home. We have been favorably accepted."
After serving two years here Elder Waddoups plans to continue his college work, having completed one year previously. He is majoring in the Biological field and Elder South-am, who also has one years credit, plans to major in the Physical Educational Field. He also has someone back home waiting for him in the field of romance.
THE REV. CARL McNEIL has accepted the pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church at Parsons. He is the former pastor of the Pembroke, Ky., Baptist Church. He is a graduate of Union University, is married to the former Edna Adams and they have four children. They live at 106 East Third.
By Lillye Younger
"I'm going to like it here, the people are tremendously warm and are accepting us. We feel like the Lord is going to bless us in our work here together," Jerry Carmon House, newly elected minister of music and education, at the First Baptist Church, of Parsons said. He hails from the First Baptist Church in St. Simons Island, Georgia where he served as minister of music and youth.
"I felt the Lord called me to use my talents of music and proclaim the gospel through music in the church," he continued. However this decision came rather late in the young man's educational career.
"During the first three years in college I worked toward my goal of band director but it was in my senior year that I changed from band music to vocal music." He explains that he felt this call all along but refused to answer.
House attended Union University and received a B.S. degree in music education from Middle Tennessee State University at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He attended Southern Baptist Seminary at Louisville, Ky, doing post graduate work towards his masters in Church music, which he is still working on.
The enthusiastic young man received his education by working his way through college. He worked in clinics and seminars. "I did everything from detective work to truck driving while enrolled at the seminary in Louisville," he smiled and admitted.
Mr. House, borned and reared in Jackson. Tennessee, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carmon House of Jackson. He has one-sister.
It was while working In a clinic at Lebanon, Tennessee that he met his wife, the former Miss Linda Collier of Lebanon. They were married June 7, 1969.
"My greatest ambition now is to reach the lost for Christ and to help the Christians mature in Christ's faith through the music ministry and education," he said.
"I think Rev. Paul Shell will be a wonderful pastor to work with and feel we can accomplish great things for the Lord in our ministry and cooperative spirit."
Mr. House has moved into his new office in the church, which is located in the old library room. He says, "The door is always open and you are cordially welcome at anytime if I am there. This announcement is especially open to the youth of our church. I am here to serve and serve I want to do."
Not only will Mr. House be found in his office but he has already orientated his visitation program, and can call names right and left.
Mr. and Mrs. House moved into our midst Friday, August 14, and are at home on Kentucky Avenue next door to the baptist parsonage.
The desire to be a minister stems back to early childhood in the life of Rev. Willard Watson, newly appointed pastor of Parsons First United Methodist Church.
Being reared on the farm, the 6'4" slender brunette minister said, "I first started preaching to the mules that I plowed in the field and also while I hoed cotton in the agricultural section of Dyer County."
The Rev. Watson, born at Baldwyn, Mississippi on March 16, 1917, moved near Dyers-burg, Tennessee at the age of seven with his five brothers. three sisters, and parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Watson.
In 1942 he served in the Mechanized Ground Forces in World War II. Upon returning home, he farmed for one year, then decided to attend college and become a Certified Public Accountant.
"Alter two years of college, this feeling of becoming a minister materialized and I Quit Running", he explains. "I turned my life over to the Lord and have felt led to preach the Gospel every since."
A graduate of Asbury College in Wilimore, Kentucky he furthered his education by attending the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which was located at McKenzie at that time.
"My first ministry was serving the Trenton Circuit in 1950," he said. Other places he has served are Puryear, Buchanon circuit, Troy and Reeves, Grand Junction and Saulsbury, Grace Parrish in Humboldt and Bells United Methodist Church in Bells, Tennessee. He was ordained in 1953.
In 1942 romance entered the picture and he and Miss Emma Lou Humes of Newbern, Tennessee were united in holy wedlock. They have three daughters, Willa Florence who is a senior at UTM, Mrs. Rachel Ann Mayfield, also a senior at UTM, who lives at Dyersburg, Tennessee and Martha Loe, a high school junior, and one son, Thomas Andrew, who is employed at the Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In commenting on his new location, Rev. Watson said, "We feel like we are going to like it here," and Mrs. Watson said, "We come to you with a heart full of love and we intend to love each one of you." "This is truly our desire while serving here," the minister agreed. "We want to minister to our people and would like to be informed of those who are ill, since we are not acquainted with our congregation."
The Rev. Watson said, "The day in the life of a minister is very rewarding, challenging and busy.
By Lillye Younger
There are new faces walking up and down the streets in Decaturyille. Some "dressed up" persons who wear a smile and speak to everyone they meet. Immediately we suspect they are ministers and most of the times we are correct. That's true to Decaturvillians when they meet the stocky brown hair, brown eyed gentleman with a broad smile and a friendly greeting.
It's none other than the new pastor of Decaturville First United Methodist Church Rev. John Britt and wife arrived in the fair city on December 29th to start the new year out.
The devoted man of God is filling the vacancy in the church because Rev. Craig Jordan was transferred to Ridgely United Methodist Church due to the death of the pastor there.
"We are so happy to be here, we came by choice," he said. "The challenge is always great when working for a God as great as we have. Our greatest joy of our life in the ministry of the Kingdom is to love and help people find a full life through the church. We can only point the way for people to go, live and serve. We know many people during our 23 years of service who have sought forgiveness from their sinful life and found God to be real and personal in their relationship through the Church of Christ."
This section of the country isn't unfamiliar to the pastor and family. He formerly served at Saltillo United Methodist. In fact he began his ministry at Saltillo. "I was scared when I preached my first sermon here," he explained. "However after I became acquainted with the membership I was much calmer. They were so good to me here." He vividly recalls one of his members, Farris Stafford.
Other places he has served are Cottage Grove near Paris, Pryorsburg, Ky., Friendship, Oak Grove in Jackson, Griffin's Chapel, Cayce, Ky., Union Grove, Mt. Pleasant and Spring Hill at Brownsville before coming to Decaturville. He served as district secretary of evangelism while at Brownsville, of which he was very proud.
"During my stay at Saltillo we built a new church and while serving at Cottage Grove a new church was built. At Friendship a new parsonage was built and two educational buildings. A new church building was also erected at Oak Grove. Our life was filled with one challenge after another during the early years of our ministry in construction and renovation of church buildings."
Born December 6, 1919 near Lexington, he is one of nine children, six sisters and two brothers all living in West Tennessee. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Henry Britt, are deceased.
Before entering the ministry at the age of 34, he worked with the Tennessee Highway Department, farmed and followed construction work. He served in the Navy three years during World War II.
"In 1964 I felt the call to be more than just a local worker for our Lord, so I answered the call to preach and was licensed by the Methodist Church to serve as pastor. I entered Lambuth College in September of 1964 and finished college at Bethel in 1969, with a B.S. degree in Religion and Education." He also attended Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. for four summers during his college years.
He does quite a bit of personal evangelism and his meetings at the church during the week, especially Bible Study each Wednesday night, take up a good part of his time. He will also be also be heard on the local WTBP radio station.
The pastor explained that he is engaged in revival services during the summer months. Counseling is also a service he renders. Being extremely interested in people's welfare, he has a knack of understanding their personal problems.
A day in the life of a minister is a very busy, challenging and rewarding one to him. Being an early riser his day begins quite early. Sometimes as early as 2 a.m., however these calls are usually emergencies. His mornings are spent at the study, picking up his mail and joining friends for coffee. "I plan to visit the church membership," he said, however the sick, shut-ins and hospitalized persons will have priority of his time at first.
"The last 23 years slipped away before we really knew how fast and swift life can go. We have no regret for the years spent in the ministry as we have enjoyed every day of each passing year. People have stood with us and we have tried to stand with them."
"The greatest influence upon my life to be a preacher was God's love pointing the way for us to live and guiding me to help others find life that had some purpose and meaning for their life."
"I believe every minister should be called of God and sent by the church which is of God. No minister should try to tell another person how to know God in Christ unless he himself has had a personal relationship with God and the Church."
"I would challenge any young person to think about the ministry and the work the church calls him or her to do. God can and will call when we place ourselves into His care and guidance. I have no doubt that God is true and will have victory after victory until the closing of the age."
His hobbles are gardening and fishing. He is noted for his vegetable gardens. Laughingly he explained that he always helps feed his members out of his garden.
"We hope and pray while serving at First United Methodist Church in Decaturville that the people of all walks of life will turn and seek life through the church and we wish every person and family in Decatur County a healthy, happy life for 1978."
In closing he explains that his office and parsonage home is always open for u'rving the people.
Married to the former Jane Gilliam of Lexington, they are the parents of a son, John Michael, who is living in Jackson. They have a grandson named Brian, six months old. "Being a grandfather makes me feel younger," he said.
"My wife maintains a Christian home, keeps the preacher in line and is a wonderful helpmate," he admitted.
Senior Citizens rank high in service to their church, Mrs. Carrie Long, 87, has chalked up 18 years of perfect attendance at Parsons United Methodist Church Sunday School and proudly wears a lengthy string of bars attached to a perfect attendance pin.
Not only is she a member of the Dorcus Sunday School class bat she is also a member of the Women's Society of Christian Service and the Tennie V. Arnold Circle of the society.