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Traveling Preacher Was Known For Long Sermon

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  Since I’m writing this on Sunday, I still don’t know how the election turned out and I hope you weren’t disappointed.  

I wish they would restrict election campaigns to six months before the election.  I believe that if they can’t get their message across in that time frame, they don’t deserve the office.  

As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all  I have to say about that.”

I guess as we get older, we compare how it is today compared to how it was years ago.  A case in point, our minister never goes over 30 minutes. When I was young, growing up in Jumper’s Chapel Church, the first minister I remember was a fine old gentleman named Kennedy.  

He lived in Memphis and only preached once each month.  

It seemed to me as a child that Brother Kennedy tried to make up for the rest of the Sundays he wasn’t there by giving us the full hour and then some.  He was so loved by the congregation that no one complained.  

Also, like many ministers in those days, he was loud and wouldn’t have needed a microphone. I remember Mother saying that when I was a toddler, I would go up to the pulpit and stand beside him while he was preaching. He would pound the pulpit to make a point, but mother recalled I didn’t seem to mind.

To the best of my knowledge Dennis McMinn, Lawrence Pass and Teresa Edgar are the only ones left from that congregation. We didn’t have Sunday School rooms, so we would go to different parts of the church and we could hear the other classes.

I remember my first  teacher was Miss Fern Ward, who also had a long career in the Water Valley School System.

Now I’m merely writing personal recollections of my church experiences in my youth. I also believe that Dennis, Lawrence, Doris Ward and I are the only ones left from Ludie’s singing school class that we featured with a picture several years ago.

Because we lived nearer to Palestine Methodist Church, our family attended and supported it.  

Palestine hosted the fall session of the Yalobusha County Singing Convention, and it was there that I saw my first professional quartet, Gene Lowry and the Dixie Four.  

The make-up of that group reads like a who’s who of Gospel music in those days – Gene Lowry, Eiland Davis, Melvin Doss, Jim Weits, son of legendary bass singer big Jim Weits, and Volene Akers, pianist. They were affiliated with the Stamps Baxter Music Company as most quartets were in those days and he mentioned the recent death of the founder V.O. Stamps.

They later moved to Indianapolis, Ind., and Bill Gaither said that they were the inspiration for him to get into the music business. They say the rest is history. Hope you enjoyed this look back in time and if you have any memories you would like to share your input is always appreciated.

My email is address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.

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