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58. GREEn CoUnTy

Lending a helping hand to those in need.


ChURCh on ThE

62. FAmIly FARm

Martin County man constructed church that catches the eye.

Joe and Barbara Edwards spend quite a bit of time studing the Bible together. Photo by Thadd White


A few events are still happening over the holiday season

VIEwS FRom 70. oUR 12

Check out the beautiful outside view of local churches.



Kyle Stephens

Gene Metrick





Sarah Hodges Stalls

Thadd White

Deborah Griffin



Creative Services Director Michelle Leicester DAIly DEVoTIonS 72. FRom mInISTERS

All In A 78. DAy’S TRIp

Ministers share a time to speak with God on a daily basis.

I’m Fixin’ To Blog Author Meghan Grant tours Goldsboro.

mleicester@ncweeklies.com Photo Editor Jim Green jgreen@ncweeklies.com Advertising Executives Lou Ann Van Landingham

Editorial Contributors Leslie Beachboard Brenda Monty Sandy Carawan Sarah Davis Sylvia Hughes Gene Motley John H. Walker Hugh Davis Calvin Adkins Paige Minshew

lavan@ncweeklies.com Jessica Mobley

86. BIoGRAphy

89. mARK IT!

Learn more about the life and story of Larry Gaines.

Halifax County’s historic Tillery Resettlement is featured.


Eastern North Carolina Living Magazine P.O. Box 69, Windsor, NC 27983

Kelly Ayscue




Eastern North Carolina Living is published by APG Media Eastern NC, and is a subsidiary of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, The Enterprise, Tarboro Weekly and Rocky Mount Telegram.


Hertford COUNTY

Lovingly & Joyously proclaiming faith,

Through Her Work Story by Sarah Davis Photos by Hugh Davis & Contributed



hen she was ten years old, Beatrice Sue Bishop knew she

public health nurse and nursing instructor. Currently, the Certified

wanted to be a nurse; in fact, she was already a nurse,

Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for Roanoke Chowan

having established a first-aid station in her fifth-grade classroom

Community Health Center, she also serves as the volunteer parish

after Santa Claus brought her a nurse’s kit.

nurse for St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Hertford County.

In the more than six decades since those days as a “play” nurse

At about the same time she first became interested in nursing

in Margaret Jackson’s classroom at Pantego High School in Beaufort

as a vocation, Sue joined the 4-H Club whose motto, “To Make

County, Sue has become a “real” nurse, serving as a school nurse,

the Best Better,” is exemplified in its pledge: “I pledge... My Head

to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty,

having travelled by horse and buggy twelve

My Hands to larger service and My Health to

miles to the church.

better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

Baptized and confirmed as a Methodist, Sue especially recalls two people of faith

That pledge has been a guiding force in

from Bethany: Delamar Sparrow, whose

Sue’s life. She has worked to make the best

Sunday School lessons taught her the joy of

better, in her community - whether Beaufort

faith, and Bessie Sparrow, whose end-of-the-

or Cumberland or Halifax or Hertford or Wake

year cookouts on the Pamlico River always

county - in the country and the world.

included hot dogs and grilled diamond-back

She has served the Episcoal Diocese of East Carolina as an Emergency Preparedness representative,



rattle snake. In addition to the example of regular


church attendance for people of faith, Sue’s

Katrina in 2005, she journeyed to Louisiana to

parents also provided the model for “faith in

provide medical care. She has travelled to the

action” that has always guided Sue’s journey

Dominican Republic on medical mission trips

of faith. Sue’s father was a charter member

sponsored by St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church,

of the Bath Ruritan Club that supported the

and, along with her husband and three

community through service projects, and,

children, opened her home to AFS students

in addition to their own five children, Sue’s

from Spain.

parents welcomed over seventy-five foster

To the teachings of 4-H that began guiding

children into their home.

her in childhood, she later added the teachings

After being active in all aspects of life at

of The Order of the Daughters of the King, an

Bethany Methodist during her childhood,

order for women in the Episcopal Church. Ever

including attending Vacation Bible School, of

mindful of its motto, “For His Sake... I am but

necessity held at night because the participants

one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but

were working in tobacco fields during the day,

I can do something. What I can do, I ought to

at age sixteen, Sue chose to become a part

do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God I

of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. There her

will do Lord, what will you have me do?”

Aunt Bessie played the organ and had taken

Sue is constantly “doing something.” By

Sue to Sunday School for Sara Tankard’s

offering her “presence, resources, prayers,

class. First attending St. Matthew’s as a pre-

compassion and time and ability to listen,” she

schooler, Sue recalls memorizing John 3:16 for

makes her journey of faith.

Ms. Tankard and singing in a youth choir with

That journey began in Beaufort County.

I was blessed to be surrounded by people of faith, and their faith just seemed to infiltrate my cells by osmosis.

her three sisters and two other youngsters.

She says: “I was blessed to be surrounded by

Confirmed by the Right Rev. Thomas

people of faith, and their faith just seemed to

H. Wright, fourth bishop of the Diocese of

infiltrate my cells by osmosis.”

East Carolina, Sue played the organ at St.

Among her earliest memories of people

Matthew’s and enjoyed EYC (Episcopal Young

of faith is of a special Aunt Sally, an African-

Churchmen) with youth from St. Matthew’s,

American family friend, who lived with Sue’s

St. Thomas, Bath and Zion, Washington. At

family part of the time. Sleeping in the same

Zion she met the Rev. Stanley Jenkins, one of

bedroom, Sue was privileged to see Aunt Sally

the very influential “people of faith,” whom

begin and end every day by kneeling in prayer.

she describes as a “saint walking this earth.”

Sue’s parents (John E., Sr., and Lila Mae

In addition to his influence on her journey

Tuten Bishop) were active members of

through the EYC, the summer Sue was a

Bethany Methodist Church where her father,

volunteer counselor at Camp Leach - having

the youngest of eleven children, recalled that

gotten permission from her father to leave the

his parents were the first to arrive at services

tobacco fields - Father Jenkins was Director

each Sunday morning in the early 1900s,



After the deconsecration of St. Matthews,

Rapids for almost forty years where she and

providing transportation to an appointment.

the Bible used there became part of Sue’s

her family were active at Rosemary Street

Whatever and wherever the need, tangible or

personal religious library. It had been given to

Methodist Church.

intangible, Sue attempts to meet it.

St. Matthew’s by her aunt in memory of her

While in Roanoke Rapids, Sue was a public

In her mind’s eye, Sue can still see the

health nurse and a public school nurse. She

muddy road that led to her house with no

Leaving Beaufort County for Rex Hospital

established the first Health Occupations

electricity. She would hurry down the road to

School of Nursing in Raleigh, this Methodist-

Program at Roanoke Rapids High School,

catch the bus that would take her to her first

become-Episcopalian met Betty Babson

the first Health Careers Club, the first special

grade class, having to hurry because she had

(Pearce), her roommate, an Episcopalian who

education program at the recreational center,

been listening to the “Tommy Steele Radio

became a life-long friend. Definitely one of

sponsored the first 50-mile bike ride fund-

Devotional.” She sees Public Health Nurse

the people of faith who influenced Sue, Betty

raiser to support the program, and was the

Lovie Shelton on the same muddy road when

is responsible for Sue’s Altar Guild work and

first woman to wear pants to work in the

the family was quarantined as a result of strep

volunteer parish nurse status.

Roanoke Rapids School System.

throat. She sees her parents and all those


Together, they attended Church of the

On moving to Fred’s home county where

Good Shepherd in Raleigh and there met the

Sue continues in her nursing career, Fred

Goodwins, an elderly couple who befriended

and Sue became members of St. Thomas’

Their journey of faith has become her

them and gave them a ride to church every

Episcopal Church where Sue has continued to

journey of faith. Sue may only be one, but she

Sunday, thus preventing their having to take

honor the pledge she made as a 10-year-old

constantly asks “Lord, what will you have me

the city bus. Among other people of faith who

4-H member intertwined with the motto of


influenced Sue at this time were the Rev. and

The Daughters of the King.

foster children. She sees Aunt Sally and Aunt Bessie and the Sparrows and...

Answering that call, as a Daughter of

Mrs. Willis M. Rosenthal, she a librarian at Rex

Sue’s friend Betty was the first parish

the King, she recognizes - just as all those

Hospital and he director of religious education

nurse in Lincoln, Nebraska, and, following

who influenced her did - that faith is not to

at Christ Episcopal Church, Raleigh.

Betty’s example, Sue is the first parish nurse

be hidden but “to be lovingly and joyously

It was also at this time that Sue first became

in Ahoskie. With minimal financial support


a volunteer with the Red Cross, helping at the

from the Episcopal Church Women, Sue

North Carolina State Fair.

is able to meet needs she encounters in

Sarah Davis is a retired librarian and regular

After marrying Baptist Fred Liverman

the community, whether supplementing

contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living and

of Hertford County, Sue lived in Roanoke

someone’s diet or prescription meds or maybe

the Bertie Ledger-Advance.

“ 8

I pledge... My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service and My Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

New Bertie County Public Library & Cooperative Extension Facility Opening January 2021

An investment in educational resources is an investment in the future of Bertie County


Hyde county


Whether in the Woods or on the Water,

He is with the Lord Story & Photos by Sandy Carawan


or 19-year-old Zac Eakes, God isn’t just found in the sun-

billowy seas of the Atlantic Ocean where fishing boats filled with

faded Bibles that line the back of the church pews, or in the

silhouetted men cast their lines against the morning sun’s canvas

old hymnals that have been sung in unison for generation after generation, or in the church itself.


of palette-rich oranges, pinks and yellows. A resident of Engelhard, Zac has lived in Hyde County all of

God can be found not only in the field, where droplets of

his life, being raised not only in a strong Christian home and a

dew cling to the brush as the sun rises glorious and warm over

supportive church, but also amid the great expanse of Hyde

the earth where the wild game roam, but also along the spacious

County’s beautiful landscape and waterscape.

A 2020 graduate of Mattamuskeet Early

been a reciprocity through the years in which

College High School with a certificate in

he has been positively guided by others who

welding from Beaufort County Community

have built relationships with him as he has

College, Eakes is the youngest son of Jay and

been doing with others.

Donna Eakes.

Throughout his young life, Zac participated

He is not only grounded as an avid

in 4-H. Now he serves as a leader working

outdoorsman and sportsman in Hyde County

and fellowshipping with children during

and eastern North Carolina, but he is grounded

the summer camp. Even though he meets

in the word of God and his walk in this world

some new children, he still knows a lot of the

with Christ.

children and they know him.

This selfless young man possesses a strong

Also, throughout his years as a student in

moral compass, driven by the direction in

the classroom and a talented athlete on the

which he allows God to lead him and goes the

basketball court and baseball field, Zac always

distance by serving Him in different ways.

gave his best and humbly carried himself

Zac relies on Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the

acting as a role model. He served as a member

Lord whatever you do, and He will establish

of the Senior Beta Club, Ducks Unlimited,

your plans,” as a means to enhance his

and the Future Farmers of America (FFA),

communication with God through meditation

completing service projects that benefitted

all the while bolstering his faith.

his community.

Zac has grown up in the Engelhard Christian

Zac has also coached a 12-Youth baseball

Church, of which he has been a lifelong

team as an assistant and from his experience

member. His connections to this church

as an athlete he has been able to share with

run deep as his family has not only been

his team his personal messages of inspiration.

members for several years, but The Rev. Scott

“I love working with kids, but in baseball

Sukeforth, his Paw-paw, ministered to the

especially, I’m trying to help them get better,”

church for years as well as his grandmother,

he insists. “I want them to strive to do their

Edna Sukeforth.

best. I tell them what I struggled with in

It is from this experience that Zac has

baseball or how I overcame something that I

gained a strong foundation for him to

could not always overcome as a way to help

spiritually walk with Christ, build relationships

them fix their problem.”

and guide others. “I grew up walking to church. I never drove to church. I’d always run out the front door and run across the yard and be at church in less than twenty seconds.” Through the years, Zac has been an active

Balancing a busy work schedule, Zac is able to combine his work with his love of hunting and fishing. He works for Coastal Producers in which his work varies between the field, office and occasionally guiding.

member in his church, participating in building

“One day I may be in the office keying in

projects, plays, parades, Christmas carol

invoices, and the next day I’ll be in the field all

singing and conducting Children’s Church.

day long,” he said.

He has worked with children not only between the ages of three to four, but also

He scouts crops and conducts soil samples, which he enjoys.

children between the ages of nine to twelve

“During harvest season, I’m in the field

reading Bible stories, allowing them to interact

checking on the farmer to see if he needs

with the story, and praying with them.

anything and I’ll go get it so we can keep him

“I like working with the little kids, which is really fun. But when I have to work with big kids, I enjoy it just as much,” he said.

I’d always run out the front door and run across the yard and be at church in less than 20 seconds.

working in the field,” Zac said. Additionally, he works at the Mattamuskeet Outpost, a faith-based organization that is a

In service to his community, Zac has

part of the Dare to Hyde Outdoor Adventures.

enjoyed other experiences in which there has

During the winter, he guides for black bear


and ducks. He is an extremely knowledgeable

His favorite fishing is white marlin, dolphin,

wants over Him. Just keep Him first and help

guide knowing the black bear and different

tuna, sword fish and bottom fish such as

other people to seek Him and know Him

duck species and their habits in Hyde County’s

snapper and trigger fish.


diverse habitats.

“I love making bait. When I go fishing we

Zac’s faith in God is an important part of

“I really do love bear hunting and duck

have sea witches, a hand-made bait with

his life as well as his leading by example and

hunting, but if I had to choose which one to

various colors that on certain days will attract

leading others to Christ.

guide it would be bear hunting all day long,”

fish. I give them to other boats and people will

Though he is young, he has established

he said.

ask me to make them for them so I’ve actually

himself not only within his community but

sold a few,” he said.

with his own peers as well as children much

While working at the Mattamuskeet Outpost, Zac says that he gets to meet a lot of new people and make friends, men

Of course, Zac encounters challenges that with God’s help he must try to overcome.

and women of all different ages, and some teenagers.

younger than him. This young man of faith is also a man of

“I keep my faith, but sometimes I go

strength, courage, perseverance and love not

through a situation that will put stress on me

only because of his relationship with God, but his desire to selflessly serve others.

Leading by example and living by faith,

and I remind myself to go back to the One

Zac states, “We always pray before every hunt

that knows best, the One that will show me,”

and every meal. We’re not just hunting; we are

admits Zac. “I always remember that the Lord

teaching people and growing relationships

may keep you strong in a situation to keep you

“I set many goals. One is to keep the faith

with them.”

from getting in a worse situation somewhere

and always strive to reach my goals and do my

down the line. I always tell myself little things

best.” He adds, “Don’t rush anything. Just live

that keep me in faith.

life one day at a time.”

In addition to hunting, he enjoys working out, charter fishing and making fishing lures.

Zac’s hopes for the future resonate with good advice for anybody of any age.

While Zac serves as mate on the 38-foot

“I’m always in continuous prayer,” he

charter boat Laura Linn out of Ocracoke, he

continues. “I pray all the time. I remind myself

Sandy Carawan is an English Language

also does a lot of fill-ins and ride-alongs with

to stop and thank the Lord for what He has

Arts teacher at Mattamuskeet Early College

different captains from Pirate’s Cove and

blessed me with and not just what I want. I

High School in Swan Quarter and is a regular


keep telling myself not to put my needs and

contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

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Northampton COUNTY

In the fields and in the classroom,

He is Laboring for God Story by Gene Motley Photos Contributed


eon Dickens admits he abhors wasted

located between Garysburg and Seaboard in

Christ at age 12 and I was even the first person

time and wasted ability. Perhaps that’s


ever baptized in the church’s new baptistery,”

why he makes the most of that which he has been given. A true Northampton County native of the soil – born on a farm, and managing one

“I was born into a family that went to

he added.

church,” Dickens said. “We started going there

A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a

(Elam) when I was three years old, so I was

history degree, Dickens has spent the better

brought up in church.

part of 38 years in various capacities at

still – two of his great passions are his many

“It taught me Biblical truths and I had a

Northeast as a teacher (a post he holds to this

years of service to Northeast Academy in

Mommy and Daddy who lived a life of faith,

day), board member and former Headmaster.

Lasker, as well as to Elam Baptist Church

and believed church was important. I accepted

His wife Brenda was a dietitian at the school.


At Elam Baptist, Dickens has served as

The Dickens’ have three children and one

deacon, Sunday school superintendent and

grandchild. The couple are grateful for the

teacher, and choir director; while Brenda has

legacy they have left the world.

served as pianist at church and at school, and

“Among the blessings that I thank God

she has served, literally, in the lunchroom for

for every night is that our children have

30 years before she recently retired.

never been a burden, have always been

“I don’t care what kind of day you were

positive, and done so many things right,” he

having or how bad you felt coming to work,

acknowledged. “They’ve done a lot of good

once you saw those kids getting their lunch or

things and contributed to where they live.

those snacks, they would just make you feel

They did the best they could. That is such a

so much better,” Brenda says.

great accomplishment for young people.”

Leon credits his Christian faith for being

Dickens involvement with Northeast began

more than the foundation of his life, it’s also

with his children's’ attendance at the school

aided in helping him face life’s challenges.

in the 1980s and blossomed from there. He

“As a farmer, as a teacher, and as a human

was an administrator, got into teaching, then

being, everybody is presented challenges

returned to administration before moving

in life from sickness, finances, workload and

back to the classroom recently.

things that happen that you just don’t know

“I tell my students I don’t want to come

why,” he explains. “(A recent) Sunday School

to school and not teach because that’s when

lesson said, ‘fret not, don't worry about things

I’ll quit,” he boasts. “I just love teaching so

that are out of your control because God is in

much. We have all kinds of students, some

control, trust him’.”

of everybody, and they’re all so respectful to

Drawing further on his Biblical teachings,

themselves and the adults.”

Dickens maintains that everyone struggles

“Northeast is just such a big part of

with the depths of their faith and keeping the

our family,” Brenda insists. “Our first child


attended in 1985 and we’ve been there ever

“Whenever I look around and question the

since. It’s just a part of us. I just like people.”

way things are, all I have to do is look around

Brenda’s love of people came from being

and see how blessed and fortunate I have

the daughter of a grocer and learning to strike

been,” he said.

up a conversation over the most innocent of

“As a farmer, one of the things that will


always test you is the weather, so its a matter

“I’m like him, I love people and I can talk

of faith for me to keep the faith God will look

to most everybody,” she insists. “Somebody

out for us regardless of what the weather is

asked me, ‘How do you just talk to the people

if we put our trust in him,” Dickens maintains.

in the grocery line, do you know them?’; and

“God works through people, and He chooses

I’ll say nope, but if you just say it’s a hot day

to work through people.”

outside you’ll find somebody who’ll talk to

Dickens believes in ‘paying it forward’; a chance to help others succeed and advance. “Every chance we get to pass along some

you.” In their 55-year marriage, the Dickens’ like to say they work off each other.

help to someone else who needs it we look

“He’s got points that I don’t have and we

for that opportunity and are glad to help out,”

have a good life,” she said. “He’s the backbone

he said.

and I thank God for him. We have a good life,

“We’ve had a lot of trying times and things

He’s the backbone, and I thank God for him. We have a good life, and I’m thankful for it.

and I’m thankful for it.”

that have tested our faith,” Brenda conveyed. “But then you’ll have things that’ll turn it all

Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and

around and that’s when you know it was faith

Sports Director and regular contributor to

that made it all happen.”

Eastern North Carolina Living.



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Bertie county COUNTY Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

With puppets, prayers and praise

They Lead Children to Jesus Story by Thadd White Photos Contributed


early five decades of ministry followed what some would

“Sister Asiatico was doing children’s church, but was also

say was happenstance, but others would say was a divine

playing the organ, and she asked me to help her,” Brenda recalled.

appointment. Shortly after professing faith in Christ and beginning to


“I went in to help her, and the next Sunday she said she had to play the organ and left me to do it.”

regularly attend Askewville Assembly of God, Brenda Hoggard

Not long after, George Henderson Hoggard joined his wife –

was asked to assist the then pastor’s wife – Myrna Asiatico – in

both in following Christ and in helping with children’s church – and

children’s church.

thus began the groundwork for a ministry that started in the 1970s

and is still going strong today.

The puppet ministry began when

Over the next 40 years – and through

the Hoggards made a trip to a church in

three different pastors – the Hoggards have

Murfreesboro and decided to adapt what

continued their work with the children of

they saw to their ministry.

Askewville Assembly of God and houses

“It’s just a good feeling when people

of worship near and far. They have worked

come up and talk about the days they

with more children than either can count,

were in children’s church with ‘Uncle Hen

seen professions of faith and guided those

and Aunt Bren’ and they remember the

moving into adulthood to become children’s


ministers themselves. Henderson said he was reluctant at first, but his wife’s faith led him to church. “I didn’t want to go, but she gave her heart to the Lord and here we are,” he mused. As they look back on that decision to give

Henderson said most of the puppets were animals in the early days of the ministry and that he is still amazed when people remember the names. “I occasionally get asked if we still have the puppets from the early days,” Henderson said. “We still have all of them.

their hearts to God and follow His direction

“When I do puppets, I try to make them

into children’s ministry, both said they know

look real, act real and talk real,” he added.

they made the right decision.

“We worked hard to never let anyone know

Is there a time when they saw their faith as essential in survival? “Every day,” Brenda said. “Raising

exactly who was behind the stage. The thrill of it for me has always been watching the children laugh.”

children and working and doing all of the

As children have aged out of children’s

daily activities. I couldn’t make it without

church, many have expressed a desire to

him. I don’t know how people make it

come back and be part of the ministry. After

without the Lord.”

a three month hiatus, they are welcomed

Henderson agreed, “Without him I

back for training.

wouldn’t have made it. I’m still human, and

“I’d say 50 percent of the children

I still make mistakes, but He’s there to pick

that age out want to come in and help,”

me up and forgive me when I fall.”

Henderson said.

Both said they were thankful for

“Training the next generation in ministry

whatever part they were allowed by God to

is why we have so many people in place

have in the lives of the children they teach.

now,” Brenda added.

“The most rewarding part is seeing

Currently, the Hoggards are part of a

the children who went through children’s

Children’s Ministry team which has five

church who then turn around and minister

different groups that take turns leading

themselves – as pastors, missionaries,

children’s church each Sunday.

children’s workers or whatever they are

“We have five teams so we only do

called to do,” Brenda said. “There have been

children’s church every fifth Sunday now,”

many others who taught them too, but we

Brenda said. “It feels good to know that if

are glad to be a small part of their lives and

something happened to us today, it would

then to see where God has taken them.”

go right on.”

Though children’s ministry involves a lot

She said the adults and youth are

of disciplines – from Bible Study to arts and

dedicated to keeping the children’s ministry

crafts – the one most synonymous with the

alive and work hard to do their part.

Hoggards is puppeteering. “Henderson knows how to make a puppet come alive,” Brenda stressed.

It feels good to know that if something happened to us today, it would go right on.

Still, when called upon, the Hoggards are glad to be back in the classroom. “When I get in there, I still love it,”


Henderson said. “I can’t get up and down as

Beginning with the Asiaticos and continuing

easy as I used to, but I still enjoy it. We just

through the Rev. and Mrs. Van Willis and

knew we couldn’t keep doing it every day.”

an interpreter, but the children loved it.”

continuing through the Rev. R.O. Denton Sr.

And it is those children who have kept

While helping guide youth in the church,

and Naomi and the Rev. R.O. Denton Jr. and

them back to the ministry for more than 47

the Hoggards raised three children of their

Cheryl, the Hoggards said they found spiritual


own – all of whom helped in the ministry and

guidance and friends.

have gone on to minister in their own way. “Sometimes you look back and feel maybe they were left out,” Henderson said.

“I would say Rev. Asiatico was my spiritual father and I have had good relationships with every pastor since him,” Henderson said.

“We didn’t want to show favoritism and

“For me, I’ve been close to each of the

maybe we went too far to make sure we

pastor’s wives and they have always been

didn’t,” Brenda added.

supportive of me,” Brenda added.

Their own concerns aside, they said all

She also has another spiritual mentor.

“Their hearts are so tender,” Henderson said. “They have such great faith.” During prayer time, the Hoggards have heard requests for dogs, cats and a variety of other animals, as well as the heartfelt need of parents. Still, the best feeling for the Hoggards is seeing children come to Christ.

three children – Greg, Stephanie and Joseph –

“It may sound strange to some people,

were there helping them practice and working

but when my daughter, Stephanie, became a

in the ministry in their own way.

missionary, I always looked up to her,” Brenda

The Hoggards said they have loved every

“It’s wonderful. In fact, there should be a bigger word than wonderful,” Brenda said.

In fact Stephanie Hoggard Stewart now

said. “I saw her ministry and her heart and it

minute of the time they’ve spent not only in

works as one of the team leaders for children’s

gave me encouragement. I saw faith lived in

children’s ministry, but in serving God. And,

church and her children work with her on


while they appreciate the accolades, they’re

the team. Greg went on to play the piano at

Stephanie isn’t the only Hoggard who was

Askewville Assembly, so isn’t involved in the

on the mission field, however, as her parents

children’s ministry.

have conducted Kids Crusades as nearby as

Joseph was a really good puppeteer when he was involved in the ministry, according to his parents. While they have guided many – including their children – in the paths of the Lord, the

a curtain for us to do the puppets, and we had

Ebenezer Assembly of God and as far away as India.

And maybe that desire to follow God’s will and give even more to His service is why they

They have also ministered in churches

are closing in on their golden anniversary of service to both the children and to the God


they serve.

“Ministering in India was an unreal

the most part, been the pastors of Askewville

experience,” Brenda said. “There were people

and their wives.

as far as we could see. People were holding up


“My feeling is I would like to have done more,” Henderson said.

of multiple denominations in eastern North

Hoggards said their spiritual mentors have, for

When I do puppets, I try to make them look real, act real and talk real. We worked hard to never let anyone know exactly who was behind the stage. The thrill of it for me has always been watching the children laugh.

slow to accept them.

Thadd White is Editor of Eastern North Carolina Living and the Bertie Ledger-Advance.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV CSIC is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational body of believers whose vision is to love all people, win them to Christ, build them in discipleship, and send them out to fulfill their divine destiny!





Divinely led to preach at a young age

And Still Following God’s Call Story & Photos by Jim Green


ishop Jerry McCrary has served in many capacities during

not even surprised. She said for me to do what the Lord told me

his nearly five decades in the ministry. But McCrary – who

to do.”

turned 59 years old on Oct. 20 – has only found one true calling. “I knew in my heart I was born to preach, no doubt about that,” said McCrary. “I accepted my calling when I was 12 years old.


But back then (in the 1970s), the notion of a child preacher didn’t exist. “There was never a time when I doubted (my calling), but to

“I went to my mom one day and told her the Lord had called

me, I’d become an anomaly, a phenomenon,” McCrary said. “I

me to preach – I knew it. It was inevitable; it was the call. She was

only knew of one other child preacher and he was in Chicago at

the time and well established. It gave me

would be the preacher,” he said. “I wore an


old choir robe that (the) Rev. Dr. Otis Parks

Jerry McCrary is the eldest of five sons

(Little Friendship United Free Will Baptist

born to Bishop Jerry T. and Elder Joyce

Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y.) let me keep.


We played church and I went through

As with everyone in his family, McCrary

the whole format – at the age of 7 or 8.

started attending church at a young age

My family members were just awestruck

and was quite taken with the ministers who

because nobody had ever seen anything

delivered the Sunday message.

like that, but for me, it was natural.”

“It was understood in my family there

McCrary made his confession of faith

was no question – you were going to church

at the age of 8. After his parents relocated

and had no voice,” he said. “Typically in the

the family back to North Carolina, McCrary

black family at that time, it was mandatory.

preached his first official sermon at the

I don’t care if you went out and partied

age of 13 on Mother’s Day – May 11, 1975

Saturday night and didn’t get in until 7

– at his new home church, Hattie’s Chapel

o’clock Sunday morning, you were still going

United American Free Will Baptist Church

to church.”

in Hassell.

Born in Williamston and a native of

“For some reason I felt nervous,” he said.

Parmele, McCrary moved to New York with

“There were people everywhere. Coming

his parents when he was just a toddler.

from miles around, they were thinking,

“I started going to Little Mount Bethel

‘What can a child tell us?’

Missionary Baptist Church in the Bronx

“I remember walking into the sanctuary

when I was 2 or 3 years old,” he said. “I was

and gasping because I had never seen that

always fascinated and infatuated by the

many people,” he added. “I had to reset,

preachers ever since I could remember,

wipe the sweat and breathe. My mom and

and my godparents were in the ministry

others reassured me. My message was ‘Now

together. As I started having a consciousness

is the Time.’”

of self and the church, the ministers always

On Oct. 11, 1975, he was licensed

fascinated me by their demeanor, the way

and ordained as an Elder at the Annual

they carried themselves, how they were so

Conference of the Northeast “B” Division

regal and spoke with such authority and yet

of the UAFWB Denomination, making him

with such compassion. I loved their suits

the youngest ordained Elder in the history

and the way they dressed.”

of the denomination.

McCrary used to loved to hear his

McCrary preached at revivals and other

grandfather – the Rev. Howard Wesley

religious events such as crusades, tent

McCrary – preach.

services and seminars up and down the

“He would stir a church and knew how to reach the people and how to bring them to a crescendo,” he said. “My paternal uncle – actually several of them – were preachers.” As he grew up, McCrary was active in any

It was understood in my family, there was no question you were going to church and had no voice.

East Coast for several years, from New York all the way to Florida. “My attitude from the age of 12 – and still is – is, I am going to go where the Lord needs me to go,” he said. “

youth-oriented activity that involved the

My mom was my chauffeur back then

church, from being and serving as president

and those were fun exciting trips. We would

of the youth ushers and youth choir. He also

sing, talk about the last sermon and do what

would get together with some of the other

normal families do – we just emphasized

family members and “play church.”

the spiritual aspect,” he added.

“Growing up, kids used to play house,

McCrary graduated from Roanoke High

right? I’d get all my cousins together and I

School (now South Creek) and earned his


undergraduate degree in Psychology and

consecrated to the Episcopacy during the Holy

Social Work from Shaw University. He also

Convocation of Love-N-Fellowship Ministries

Another time was in 1985, when an

attended Shaw Divinity School.

Inc., with Bishop Claudie H. Wilkins presiding.

electrical fire destroyed the family home in

you to leave your footprint in the earth.”

In August of 1991, McCrary began working

It was held at McCrary’s current home church,

Parmele. McCrary, 22 years old at the time,

extensively in youth ministry and founded

Roberson Chapel Word of Life Ministries,

lost his first preaching robe that Pastor Parks

The Youth Conference Inc., an organization

Inc. in Parmele, which was founded by his

gave him, his glasses, keepsakes he wanted

composed of Martin, Bertie and Hertford

grandmother Fannie Mae Perkins Roberson.

to pass on, cassettes of sermons and video

counties as well as other surrounding counties

His aunt, Shirley Powell, is the senior pastor.

footage of him at revivals.

in eastern North Carolina. It was established

McCrary and members of his family have

“I told God I didn’t understand what was

to assist youth in artistic, academic, social and

helped start and served at many churches,

going on, but once I expelled that negative

spiritual development.

and for numerous denominations, and he

energy, it was immediately replaced with

been involved in many groups over the years,

positive reassurance,” he said. “It happened

whether as a founder or an active member.

and was bad, but all things work together for

Over the course of several years, McCrary met several people to whom he attributes his spiritual and ministerial growth: Archbishop William Spain of The Glorious Church in Raleigh; and Bishop Charles E. Drake (of the Church of God in Christ) in Los Angeles, Calif. “Dr. Blake taught me many things: excellence among them. He was a humble person,” McCrary said.

But even he has had times where his faith was tested. As early as 14, he was hearing discouraging

good. It was for a purpose and a reason, and we have to follow and trust Him.” What does Christianity mean to McCrary?

words from some adults who thought he was

“To me it means being an ambassador on

too young to be a preacher. His mother heard

earth for Christ,” he said. “It is the symbol of

the same things.

who God is and His love for us. He loves us

“Her response was, ‘I will support my

more than what we give him credit for – He’d

Regarding Spain – who died in July due to

son if this is what he wants to be, and who

rather love us than judge us. It is about love,

complications from COVID-19 – McCrary said,

am I to tell him when or when not to stop

caring, compassion, altruism… all the things

“He was a mentor on several different levels:

preaching?’” he said. “She eradicated all my

that would make your life here on Earth

he was a father figure, best friend, confidante,

doubt by saying ‘As long as the Lord and your


a great Biblical teacher, gifted, funny, down to

mother are with you, you don’t have anything

earth…we cried together and had the best of

else to worry about.’ It’s as if God gave me a

Jim Green is Interim Editor of the The


vocal impression – this is who you are and

Enterprise and Photo Editor of Eastern North

what I created – this is the seed that will allow

Carolina Living.







To me, it means being an ambassador for Christ. It is the symbol of who God is and His love for us. He loves us more than we give Him credit for - He’d rather love us than judge us.


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Beginning at an early age,

Her Faith Began to Flourish Story by Leslie Beachboard Photos by Leslie Beachboard & Contributed


laire Presley says her faith in God began to flourish at a

Presley said growing up in her neighborhood was a lot of fun.

young age.

“All of the children would roam the neighborhood. We would

Presley grew up in Petersburg, Virginia where she, along with

her parents John and Marrion Titmus, lived with her grandmother, Maude Camron. “My grandmother was a strong, spiritual lady. It was not just in her words, but also in her actions,” Presley recalled.


ride bikes and skate. We had a lot of fun together. It was good times,” she added. Presley and her family attended Monumental Baptist Church. She said this is where her foundation began. “This is where my spiritual growth developed. My parents made

sure I was always at church. As far back as

with the children to visit. It was also special

I can remember, church was a big part of

to visit,” she added.

my life. It was about worshipping God, and

Presley worked for 12 years at a Christian

the fellowship with other families. When I

book store in Suffolk, Virginia until her

grew up it was not the case to go anywhere,

daughter had twins.

anytime,” She added.

Presley said that after her husband

Presley says she remembers as far back as attending beginner Sunday school as a little girl.

retired it was a hard time. “We had to find a new church and that was hard after being where we were for 38

“I remember we would sing and have a

years,” she continued.

Bible story. When we were done we could

The couple joined First Baptist Church in

go into the other rooms to play. I remember

Ahoskie, and Presley said she became active

a little house that we all wanted to get in and

with the choir and music, mission work and

play,” Presley continued.

the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU).

During her junior year in high school, Presley’s




“My faith has been tested over the years,


but it was my faith that gave me the strength

Heights, Virginia, and joined Woodlawn

to get through those things. The loss of my

Baptist Church.

husband in February 2019 was the hardest,”

She met her soon-to-be husband, Billy Presley through the church. He was attending seminary at Wake Forest University.

said Presley. “He was sick for a while. It was hard to watch him decline. “It was hard. Billy was in the hospital

“The pastor of the church was also a

every two months. In the end we brought

seminary student there, and he introduced

him home. We had many good times here.

us,” she added.

He was tired of fighting. The children were

The two were married on June 18, 1961. Shortly after they were married, her husband accepted a position at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Florida. Presley said she enjoyed being in Florida, and that living in the panhandle was not much different than what she was used to. While in Florida, the Presley’s welcomed their first child, DeAnna. Two years later, Presley returned to Colonial Heights. Her husband would commute to Southeastern University.

close. I don’t know what I would have done without them,” she continued. Amongst the things which built her faith were the many mission trips she took over the years. “I have been to West Virginia three times. I went to Alaska. We did construction and taught Bible school. I went on a trip to Pennsylvania. We went as a support system for the pastor’s wives,” she said. Presley said her trip to the Ukraine 8 years ago was an eye opening experience.

“Not quite a year later in 1964, we moved

“Here we take everything for granted.

here. Billy accepted the pastor position at

They would save every scrap of construction

Reynoldson Baptist Church. We were there

paper. Everything was saved to be used

until he retired, 38 years later,” said Presley.

later,” she added.

The Presleys’ welcomed their second child, Billy Jr. in 1967. During her years at Reynoldson Baptist Church, Presley led the choir and fulfilled a variety of roles.

My parents made sure I was at church. As far back as I can remember, church was a big part of my life.

Presley still keeps herself busy, and spends a lot of time with her autistic grandson, Steven. “We do a lot of activities together, We volunteer at the food pantry, helping and

“The only vacations we would take would

packing boxes. I take him to his Easter Seal

be to visit my husband’s family in Mississippi.

programs. We spend a lot of time thrift store

We would drive from here to Mississippi

shopping. He really likes that,” she smiled.


Presley also participates with the Hanging

women have to sign an agreement to stay

problem. Faith takes you through the problem.

of the Green at Middle Swamp Baptist Church.

in the program,” she continued. “There have

Faith doesn’t always take away the pain. Faith

“It is very rewarding and fun directing.

been many success stories come from the

gives you the ability to handle the pain. Faith

People come together from all over,” she

program. It can be challenging, but also gives

doesn’t always take you out of the storm. Faith


you the feeling of accomplishment.”

calms you in the midst of the storm, Amen.”

Presley also volunteers with the Christian

During her free time, Presley likes to read,

Women’s Job Corps through First Baptist

put together puzzles, work in the yard and


spend time at the river.

“This is a ‘hands up’ program’ to help women get on their feet. We help women find a job, repair their credit, build their self-esteem. The


My grandmother was a strong spiritual lady. It was not just in her words, but also in her actions.

Presley keeps an index card on the table next to her chair that reads: “Faith doesn’t always take you out of the

She says she reads it daily as a reminder of what her faith means. Leslie Beachboard is a former News Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

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Servants of God in Mexico and the U.S.,

Filling a Musical Void Story & Photos by Deborah Griffin


soft light emanating from the All Souls Catholic Mission in Tyrrell County beacons weary sojourners traveling

westward on U.S. 64 on recent a Saturday night. The music wafting from inside the small church in Columbia is reminiscent of Old Mexico. Father Carlos N. Arce, a Franciscan bilingual pastor from Nicaragua, performs mass for a handful of Spanish speaking


immigrants, who have left Mexico seeking a better life. Jose Gonzalez, 44, grew up in Mexico City dreaming of what a life in America would be like. When he was 21, he received the opportunity to leave home for America, and never looked back. He found a life in the vacation destinations of Nags Head and Manteo, doing landscaping.

“I was supposed to come for only a year, but I have been here 20,” he said. Gonzalez plays a 12-string guitar and sings at the mission. He and his cousin,

Jose said his journey to faith began as a young boy growing up in Mexico. “[In Mexico], I used to go [to church]– and that’s it,” he said.

Ricardo Gonzalez, and Ricardo’s family,

After he came to America, he began

travel from Manteo to Columbia (about

drink a lot. His boss invited him to church

45 minutes) every Saturday night to

one day, and he turned him down.

lead music for congregants of the small, hispanic mission. About a year and a half ago, the Gonzalezes

“After a while, I began to go - little by little,” he said.



He also learned to play the guitar.


“I started to play a little bit - then I quit

Columbia when they realized the small

drinking and I quit smoking. I just stayed

church at the intersection of the four-lane

focused a little bit more on church,” he

highway and Main Street had no music.


“One day we went by the church and

His life completely changed.

saw that nobody was singing. It was so

“A lot of people ask me about it. It is

sad,” said Gonzalez. “We saw that nobody

hard to explain. I tell them I can explain it

was playing here so we decided to play

to you a little bit - but you have to find out


for yourself,” he said.

The family’s love for music is evident

“Once you stop the way you were

during worship. Ricardo and his wife,

living - it is awesome - I can’t explain it,”

Lourdes Martinez, also play guitar and

he added.

sing, and their young sons - Dylan, 9, plays

Before he changed - if he did ask

the keyboard and sticks, and Mitchel, 6,

God for help, “It was from here,” he said,

plays maracas.

pointing to his head, “never from the

Jose said at their home church in Nags


Head, there was already an abundance

Jose said he is teaching his fiancee to

of musical talent - about 15 people play

play guitar. She currently sings with the

instruments in the church they attend on

small family band.


It is hard to explain. I can explain it a little bit - but you have to find out for yourself.

From Tabasco, Mexico, Cupil came to

The family soon realized All Souls Mission was their ministry.

Tyrrell County to work in the crab industry, which draws immigrant workers seeking a

Gonzalez said their desire is to reach

better life.

people living in Tyrrell County, where a

She said it is a hard way to make a

growing hispanic community is changing

living. Workers hand-pick fish and crab



meat from carcasses, sometimes for as

immigrants seek work in the fish and crab




many as nine hours in a row, and some


shifts not ending until two or three o’clock

Jose said they want to increase the

in the morning.

number of people attending the mission.

Cupil worked at the fish house for six

“[We hope] they would like to come

months. When Gonzalez met Cupil, he

and enjoy [the music] for a little bit,” he

convinced her to leave the fish house

said. “We try to make people happy for an

behind, and she began cleaning cottages

hour or so,” he said.

in Nags Head.

Jose met his [now] fiancee Adriana Cupil while playing at the mission. “We are thinking about getting married next year,” he said.

When asked what her life would be without God, Cupil’s eyes glisten with tears. She explains through an interpreter


that in Mexico, somebody murdered her

was up to about 30 people, Jose said. Since

24-year-old nephew. She said she and her

March, attendance has dropped. On a recent

No matter the attendance, the family

daughter have grown closer to God through

Saturday, only two others, besides the

doesn’t hesitate to travel the distance to

the situation. The murderer has still not been

Gonzalez family, attended mass.



here and play,” he added.

“Sometimes I feel bad, because before

“Maybe it is just a little church - but, we

Ricardo has played the guitar 25 years.

[COVID-19], people had started coming in.

think like the church is full,” said Jose. “We

He spent most of his life attending church in

Now nobody wants to come - because they

don’t care if it is one or two persons.

Mexico. In 1996, he left his home country to

are scared,” said Jose.

work at the fish house in Wanchese. His sister, brother and parents are still in Mexico. His wife, Lourdes, likes playing and singing

“It is kind of sad,” he continued. “A lot of

people might think we get paid for it. We do

the hispanic community live within a [two

it for free. We try to make people happy for a

minute] walking distance of the church, but

little bit. We try and to share with people what

nobody comes.”

we can, what we know,” he said.

at All Souls because she wants to be as close

He knows the virus has kept many away.

to God as she can be. She also attended

“Everybody makes excuses,” he lamented.

church growing up in Mexico, but it has only been in the past 20 years, since moving to

He feels it shouldn’t be hard for people to find an hour out of their day to come.

America, that church has become a bigger

“God is with you all day,” he said.

part of her life.

For the Gonzalez’s, the time commitment

The ministry the family delivers is not dependent the number of parishioners. At one time, All Souls Mission’s attendance

“ 32

(We hope) they would like to come and enjoy (the music) for a little bit. We try to make people happy for an hour or so.

“We do it because we like it. Sometimes

is much greater, but does not seem to be a burden. “It takes us two to three hours to come

Jose said he hopes they are a beacon of hope during these times of uncertainty. “Sometimes you are sad - if we are playing something good, then maybe it can touch your heart and change your mind,” he said. Deborah Griffin is a Staff Writer for The Daily Reflector in Greenville and Eastern North Carolina Living.




No matter where life has taken him,

He’s Not Ashamed of the Gospel Story by Thadd White Photos by Thadd White & Contributed

part of a Christmas play when he was eight years old.

You might say the church scared the devil out of me.”


That’s how Joe Edwards described the events that led to his

“A part of the play was about the second coming of Christ,”

profession of faith in Christianity as a youngster, and to a lifetime

Edwards recalled. “They had trumpeters there and none of us

commitment to live up to the Bible’s command to not “be

knew it – well I didn’t for sure. All of a sudden at the second coming

ashamed of” the gospel.

they blasted the trumpets and scared everyone to death.”

Edwards, who was born in the Virginia mountains, was living in

Edwards went on to be baptized at Woodlawn and continued

High Point and attending Woodlawn Baptist Church when he was

attending church there until he left for service in the U.S. Army.

Following his time in the military, Edwards

spent time teaching Sunday School,

would settle in Miami, Florida and find

working with the visitation program and

himself attending First Baptist Church there.

doing anything else he felt he could do to

It was at that time, the church called a young

help the church.

minister named Dr. Charles Stanley – who

Just five short years later, Edwards left

went on to become a fixture on television

the man he has become to know as his

and pastored First Baptist Church in Atlanta

pastor and moved to Winston-Salem,

for nearly five decades - to serve as pastor.

where he attended Main Street Baptist

Edwards quickly befriended the new

Church in Kernersville. There he also got

pastor and the two worked hand-in-hand as

involved and participated in church.

they founded the George Mueller Christian

It was a few short years later he was on

Academy. In fact, Edwards drove a truck all

the move again for Bell South, this time

the way to Liberty, North Carolina to collect

settling in Raleigh where he became a

desks for the new school.

member of Leesville Baptist Church.

With the school up and running,

Once there he again spent time working

Edwards focused on working with troubled

with the young men in the church, including

youth at the church. He did everything from

coaching them in softball and basketball.

appearing in court to forming a softball

His teams again won city championships,

team, taking them swimming and helping

just as they had in Miami.

them through their issues.

While in Raleigh, Edwards met his wife,

“I spent some time with each one

Barbara, and the two hit it off. Both had

of them each week,” he said. “I loved

been through divorce, each had a son and

working with them and they seemed to get

they found themselves drawn together.

something out of it.”

Together they began attending Calvary

He guided them to learn the error of their

Baptist Church in Durham, and the two

ways and helped them have fun – including

were married there and attended church at

winning a city title with his softball team.

Calvary until they retired to Littleton some

Edwards relayed a story about a

years later.

youngster who was caught stealing cars

Despite Barbara’s upbringing in the

and became part of Edwards’ program.

Methodist Church, and Joe’s longtime

The young man said he felt he had to take

affiliation with Baptist churches, the two

the cars when people left their keys inside.

have helped each other grow in their faith.

Several years later, the young man walked

They attended Methodist and Baptist

in Edwards’ office in Raleigh and told him he

churches in Raleigh, before settling at a

had grown up to become a pastor.

local Baptist congregation when retiring to

“He told me, ‘I wanted to come by and show you what you helped start.’ I felt good about it,” Edwards recalled.

Littleton. But before he retired, Bell South allowed Edwards and his family to meet a variety

While Miami was a beautiful place

of U.S. Presidents during their visits to the

and ministry, Edwards worked for Bell

state, and the opportunity to go aboard Air

South and soon was promoted to Atlanta,

Force I on several occasions.

Georgia where he worked in the company’s headquarters.

“I loved working for Bell South,” he said. “In fact, even after I retired I went back to

While in Atlanta, he also renewed the

work to help them with recovery efforts in

acquaintance of his friend Dr. Charles

Florida following Hurricane Wilma. They

Stanley, who by then had become Pastor of

called and asked for me to go, and I couldn’t

First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

say no.”

Edwards soon joined the church and

I spent time with each one of them each week. I loved working with them, and they seemed to get something out of it.

It was the year 2000 when the Edwards’


made the move from Raleigh to Littleton on

Littleton and Halifax County area as well as

While Joe sings and plays with friends in

a permanent basis.

teaching seniors at the Weldon Day Center

a music group – the Sonshine Trio - Barbara

to play guitar.

entertains seniors as “Ummons the Clown.”

Once there, they settled in a local church and began ministering in a variety of ways. Joe





Chairman of the Deacons and a member of the building and grounds committee while

He said he has a strong desire to finish

They often went to nursing homes together

teaching those seniors once COVID-19 is no

– before COVID-19 – to entertain the senior

longer an issue.

citizens who live there.

Looking back over the years, Edwards

Barbara directed the Young at Heart

said his faith in God has helped him through

program and helped with the church’s

bad times – including the death of his son

bookkeeping duties.

and difficult times at church.

Looking back, Edwards is glad he chose a life of faith in God. “Faith has brought the good things in my life; I would have regretted had I not

Edwards said he again hit it off with a

“If it hadn’t been for God, I wouldn’t have

accepted Christ,” Edwards said. “I like going

young pastor named Dr. Darren Lambert.

gotten through my son’s death,” Edwards

to church and I like worshipping God. I like

The two worked together and Dr. Lambert

said, recalling a dark time when his son David

serving God alongside Barbara.”

served the local congregation for a dozen

was killed in a car wreck at only 24.

years. Edwards was in the church building weekly, doing any maintenance or odd job he felt could help the church. While working inside the church, Edwards was also doing work for God outside the church – singing in nursing homes in the


If it hadn’t been for God, I wouldn’t have gotten through my son’s death.

Edwards said he liked sharing his faith,

While still feeling the loss of his son many

and always kept Romans 1:6 close to his

years later, Edwards said he is thankful God

heart, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel

put Barbara’s son, Blair, in his life.

of Christ: for it is the power of God unto

“He treats me just like his dad,” Edwards

salvation to every one that believeth…”

said. All-in-all the combined family has served God together and are happier for it.

Thadd White is Editor of Eastern North Carolina Living and the Bertie Ledger-Advance.

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Washington COUNTY

Thriving through mission ministry,

Pastor Enjoys the Fruits of Faith Story & Photos by Gene Motley


ishop Avery Barnes Sr. says he felt the spirit of God

Rock Holiness Church (also in Plymouth) where I first started in

compelling him to preach the Gospel at an early age.

1977,” Barnes recounts. “Bishop Gary Cooper was the pastor and

It would be his anointing that would come years later.

Two years afterward, in 1979, Barnes was appointed to Solid

at 528 Wilson Street in Plymouth, which he founded in the early

Rock’s deacon board and he was ordained as a minister there in

1980s. In 2020, he celebrated 38 years as an ordained minister.


“I founded my current church in ‘82, when I was still at Solid


my anointing was his way of letting me out.”

Barnes is the current Senior Pastor at Temple of Christ Church

“Bishop Cooper was a great teacher,” Barnes said. “Early on, I

had been singing with a rock-and-roll band

have one; but that’s when I made plans to

called the Psychedelic Souls and the King

take over the building on Wilson Street,” he



Barnes’ regular job was a 44-year career

Despite expansion renovations, Barnes

at Weyerhauser – both at the Landfill and

and the Temple of Christ outgrew the

at the pulpwood treatment facility, but he

former showroom and he went in search of

still maintained his ministry the entire time.

another facility. He didn’t have to look far:

His first church was on Wilson Street, near

an old building supply store came open on

where the current sanctuary stands today.

the same Wilson Street.

“We started at the Brooks house, a local

“Little did I know as a boy buying nails

family home, where I held prayer, taught

and glass that this was God saying that one

and preached and then the Lord blessed

day He would give this to me,” the Bishop

me with a building right there where I was

said. “So we later purchased the building

raised up,” he said. “I grew up on that street,

and the land and got started. The ministry

playing like young boys would do, passing

kept growing and growing and if everybody

by it every day and never knowing that this

had stuck with me, I would have had the

is where God wanted me to have a church.”

biggest congregation in town.”

The Wilson Street building had been an






automobile dealership in the sixties that

continued his remote ministry: visiting jails

later relocated.

and homes. He also then expanded to the

“They had a big showcase window there so people could look in and see all the pretty

radio in Plymouth at WBHD-AM radio until the station closed.

cars,” he continued. “After they moved out,

Barnes also returned to music, but this

they painted over the window with red

time with a gospel group called the ‘Sons

paint. Me being a young boy looking for

of God’. They have suspended recording

work, they asked me if I would scrape off

during the COVID-19 pandemic, but hope

the window, and I did it with a razor blade.”

to return to the studio sometime in 2021.

Barnes says while he didn’t realize it at

“Since this wasn’t my first one, I knew

the time, God was working in his life. His

how to go about things (in the music

pay for all the work of scraping the painted

business),” he acknowledged. “We have a

showroom window was a chili burger and a

CD we recorded back in the nineties, and

soda. He laughs about it to this day.

people still ask for it.”

“I wasn’t sassy or anything, because little

Back in the 1980’s, Barnes received a

did I know God was looking out for me,” he

commendation from then-North Carolina


Governor Jim Hunt for his prison ministry

As he approached his twenties, Barnes took his evangelistic work to the streets and into homes and prison.

work. “I thank God for how he has blessed me to have what I have in my hometown,” he

“It’s as Paul told Timothy, ‘Do evangelist

remarked. “When people want something

work for your ministry to make full proof of

done they look to me. Not because I’m great

your ministry’,” Barnes noted.

or anything, but because God has given me

At a revival a short time later, Barnes

favor in this town among whites and blacks.

stood when the revivalist asked pastors to

I look down on no man and a lot of young

stand, even though he had no church at the

people look up to me.”


I spent time with each one of them each week. I loved working with them, and they seemed to get something out of it

Barnes counts as one of his friends

“I had no members, building, or anything,

another minister with Washington County

but the Lord told me to stand. When asked

roots: former North Carolina NAACP

the location of my church I admitted I didn’t

President Rev. William Barber II.


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5: 22-23

“His mother and father taught me (at

“We have to have something for the young

“I couldn’t be where I am without her,” he

Plymouth High School),” Barnes says. “He’s

people to do because there is very little for

confessed. “I thank God for her because she

very educated and has a church in Goldsboro,

them to do here,” he insists. “I believe God will

stuck with me through the thick and thin for

but he’s there and I’m here where I feel I can

bless us with the finances, not just for Temple

the last 38 years of my ministry. She made

make the most difference.”

of Christ, but for the whole of Washington

me the Man of God I am.”

Barnes maintains his faith works for him

County. It will have recreation, training and

The couple have two children Shalawn B.

every day because he is constantly praying

education, and drug awareness services for

Saunders and Avery Barnes Jr. who both work

and talking to God.

addicts, and things like some folks have here,

as musicians with their parents in the ministry.

but this will be for all people.”

The Barnes’ also have eight grandchildren.

“Like Scripture says, I acknowledge him and he directs my path. I can’t start my day

Barnes currently oversees other Temple

without prayer. This helps my faith, especially

of Christ ministers, some from as far away as

Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and

in a time like this,” he noted.

Charlotte. He also credits his wife of 43 years,

Sports Director and a regular contributor to

First Lady Valtine Barnes with being one of

Eastern North Carolina Living.

Barnes believes a future Family Life Center is in the works one day for his hometown.

“ 40

I couldn’t be where I am without her. I thank God for her because she stuck with me through thick and thin for the last 38 years of my ministry. She made me the Man of God I am.

the inspirations of his life.

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Beaufort COUNTY

The belief in things unseen &

Assurance of Things Hoped for Story by Sarah Hodes Stalls Photos by Sarah Hodges Stalls & Contributed


ast names on the gravestones resting at St. Peter’s Episcopal

then stopped going to church for about 20 years after my kids

Church read like a roll call of Beaufort County’s history

were born,” Nancy Hamblin explained.

makers. One Sunday, a woman who had relocated to Washington realized the church nestled in the trees at the corner of Market and Bonner streets was where she and her family needed to be. “I was born and raised a Lutheran out in Washington state and


When the family came to Washington, Hamblin’s 16-year old daughter told her, “Mom, we need to go to church.” On the day in question, Hamblin felt like she was at home. Today she credits her daughter for starting the movement that brought the family to and back to church.

She told her daughter, “this feels like

of him.”

home” and remains thankful for how

And he did.

things transpired and how it helped

The thing about faith, according to

prepare her for what was to come.

Hamblin, “it’s a gift anyone can receive if

For Hamblin, her walk through this world has not been easy. She has lost both husbands and a son.

they really desire it and ask and be open to looking places that God is present.” She

She believes the time following her first husband’s death “brought her to a place of confidence in my faith.”





presence shines forth a lot through people.” Hamblin strives to be watchful for

“I was laying in bed feeling terribly

those people sent across her path. It may

sorry for myself and everything else,”

be for her own benefit or in an opportunity

Hamblin explained. “And I had this feeling

to benefit someone else.

I was not alone.”

“During this time, there’s a lot of alone

And she realized she was not, and

time. I can’t do a whole lot physically, but

would never again be alone. Today people

I can try and connect with people and see

continue to cross her path that re-affirm

that spark, that divine spark in each other,”

this feeling.

she insists.

She is a firm believer God places

Hamblin added, “And then you

people in her path for a reason. One of

recognize that spark, and everyone

those was a former priest at St. Peter’s, Bill

around you – no matter of faith, no matter


tradition, no matter dogma – you realized

“We were talking, and he said ‘Nancy, have you ever tried meditation? I think you’re the quiet, introspective type’,” she recalled. She

we are all one and in this together. And we can pull through this.” As the country continues to endure such


I can’t do a lot physically, but I can try and connect with people and see that spark, that divine spark in each other.







during the current worldwide pandemic,

meditation group he was leading and the

Hamblin leans on her faith to offer

practice stuck.


“It’s been a lifelong thing of mine every

“Have hope,” she said with the

morning to get up and just be quiet, figure

anticipation someone could be inspired

out what’s going on,” she explained.

by her words. “If you’ve asked for faith

This portion of her spiritual journey led her to a monastery visit for 10 days of peace, quiet and work.

and you’ve received it, you can during this time go with confidence and love.” Since the day Hamblin and her children

People she encountered during that

arrived at St. Peter’s, she has been finding

experience encouraged Hamblin to do a

her place at the church taking on various

spiritual timeline. She says the practice

roles, including but not limited to, altar

has been immensely helpful in her life.

guild, using her Spanish speaking skills to

The grief and fears that accompanied the loss of both husbands and her son have always been comforted with the knowledge that. “God was there.” When her son fell ill many states away,

work with the ESL or English as a Second Language Ministry. For years she served the church as a part-time employee focusing on evangelism outreach.

another special person was put in her path

“Basically I was the meet and greet

in the form of her son’s fraternity brother.

person at the door and to follow up and

The young man named Daniel told

see if there was anything the church

Hamblin, “He’s my brother. I’ll take care

could do for them or ever help them,” she



explained. With no immediate family geographically close by, Hamblin


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family living miles away, including grandchildren. “Gosh, I have Marco Polo (which combines texting, social media and video chats), Party Time, Facetime,” she laughed. “So we do a lot of that, which is a whole lot better than nothing.” Hamblin is hopeful people will hold on to the right things during this time the country is facing and believes it will alright in the end. “I really believe this will all come out for the good. I don’t know how, I don’t know when,” she said. “I think everything we are going through emotionally, physically and financially – in all ways, there

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She clarified it may not look exactly like we’d expect, but it will come. Although there have been heartaches along the way, Hamblin remains confident that her faith will see her through and for a divine purpose.

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109 S. King St • PO Box 69 • Windsor, NC 27983 Phone: 252-794-3185 • Fax: 252-794-2835 ing

history meets adventure 47

Edgecombe COUNTY

Following the footsteps of their fathers,

Couple finds Home in Pulpits Story by John H. Walker Photos by Calvin Adkins & Contributed


astor Nathan Wittman is the son of a Methodist minister

talked about growing up saying they would not follow in those

and is married to a Methodist minister.


He has been in ministry for 12 years and is currently at St. James

UMC in Tarboro. His wife, Laura Wittman, has just transferred from St. Paul’s UMC to The Mills Church, both in Rocky Mount. Like Nathan, Laura is the child of a Methodist minister and the couple joked about following in the footsteps of their respective fathers. “God has a sense of humor,” Laura said with a laugh after both


Laura grew up in Lexington and Nathan in Elizabeth City and Nathan said he is what he called “an extreme introvert.” “I didn’t want to commit and then, about my sophomore year (at Duke University), I came around,” he said. Laura said she always knew what she wanted to do. “I had wanted to be a math teacher from the time I was 8,” she said. “I had a scholarship to Meredith, but that fell through. My dad

had a friend at High Point University and asked me, ‘Why not try High Point?’”

worship chairwoman for the conference. As a church, St. James opened its sanctuary

She said that while at High Point University, her paths crossed with Dr. Phillip Norwood, a professor in the theology department.

for service in July, although not all congregants have returned. “We do small groups... no singing,”

“Dr. Norwood let me preach at his church

Nathan said. “The challenge is, how do we

a couple of times,” she said, explaining the

worship as we start to come back in this new

mental transition from teaching math to



Both agreed that if a person is looking for

The couple likes living in Tarboro, where they reside with their three young sons, but

a church home, now might be a good time to look.

Laura said that having grown up in Lexington,

“The theology and community (of the

the self-proclaimed “Barbecue Capital of the

church) are important,” Laura said. “You should

World,” she was exposed to North Carolina’s

look to find a place that’s comfortable for you.”

western style of barbecue and wasn’t sure

They also cautioned to take care of one

about any other style.

another mentally during the COVID-19

“Then I went to Duke, met a boy named


Nathan and he took me to Parker’s (Barbecue)

“We have a lay group that calls church

and that was it,” she said. “I was sold on the

members every week,” Nathan said. “Some


are enduring on their own, but it is always

But a decision eventually had to be made, because Laura was in North Carolina’s Western Conference and Nathan in the Eastern Conference.

helpful to check in on people.” They also discussed the changing church, such as Laura’s new charge, The Mills Church. “People are interested in church, but not

“They (conference leaders) told us that one

how it’s always been,” Laura said. “People have

of us was going to have to give (and move),

been hurt by the church. I think the church will

so between Nathan, a couple of pastors and

look different in the future and I think we need

Parker’s, here we are,” she said with a laugh.

to try new ways.”

Laura’s move to The Mills Church — located in the former Marvin UMC on Falls Road — is her second charge since Nathan’s assignment to St. James in July 2015.

As an example, she spoke of house churches and churches at dinner clubs. “People want to be part of the change, but wrestle with issues. In the midst of COVID,

“The church (UMC) tries to keep a pastor (in

we’re forced to change,” Nathan said.

a location) longer than in the past. Of course,

They said that with COVID-initiated

it’s based on the needs of the congregation

changes, there are increasing opportunities for

unless (the pastor) there has an interest in

people to participate.

another plan,” Nathan said.

“Through the season of online (everything),

The couple said the COVID-19 pandemic has


The theology and community (of the church) are so important. You should look to find a place that’s comfortable to you.




especially with worshiping.

people have been given a safe space,” Nathan said. “As we go back (to face-to-face), how do we maintain our safe spaces?”

“A survey showed that 66 percent of (all)

Both St. James and The Mills worship at

pastors felt unprepared for online worship,”

10 a.m. on Sundays and are also available

Nathan said. “Some churches are more tech-

online and both Nathan and Laura issued an

savvy than others.”

open invitation to people to visit one or both

He said some churches grasped platforms

churches to see if they connect.

such as Zoom and jumped right in while others languished behind. “And then, there are a lot of communities with no internet,” said Laura, who serves as the

John H. Walker is a Staff Writer for the Rocky Mount Telegram and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.


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A desire to be closer to her God,

Leads Her to a Church Home Story by Paige Minshew Photos Contributed


ord Tabernacle Church has been

The Word Tabernacle community is “called

Ministry of Arts. This division focuses on

a prominent member of the faith

to preach the gospel; to teach people to live

music, drama, dance and any other forms of

community in Rocky Mount for over a decade.

Christ-like; to practice love; to give priority to

artistic expression to worship God.

The church strives to be “a place of

prayer; to increase in the wisdom and favor of

relevant ministry where relationships are built, needs are met, purpose is fulfilled and God is enjoyed.”

God; to fulfill purpose and to enjoy God.” Audrey Mikell, director of the celebration

Mikell said her desire to walk closer to God and to do more in mission and ministry is what brought her to Word Tabernacle.

division at Word Tabernacle, became a

“I felt this desire to be closer to God and

Since the church’s founding in 2005, the

member and joined the staff in 2005. The

joining this church was what He pressed on

Rev. James Gailliard, has pastored the church.

Celebration Division is Word Tabernacle’s

my heart,” she said. “Developing my walk with


Christ has been a life-long journey. I grew up in a church-centered, Bible-believing home and my parents made sure to teach us the way to Christ. “No matter how we are raised, we end up taking our own paths, experiencing bumps in the road and unexpected turns, but eventually end up on our way to Christ,” she added. “The beauty of the journey to faith is

No matter how we are raised, we end up taking our own paths, experiencing our own bumps in the road and unexpected turns...

letting go of what we believe is a better way. To be truly happy and fulfilled, we must put all of our faith and trust in God,” Mikell said. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to struggle with their faith, many have found peace throughout this time. Worship has dramatically changed over the past several months; social distancing has impacted all religious services equally. Experts advise that even though worshippers cannot congregate due to social distancing rules, there are still many ways to lift your spirits during this time and to look to God. Technology has been a blessing during this time because now many ministries can stream services online and reach a broader audience. “Of





different because of the pandemic, but God is still present and is working His way through the community,” Mikell said. “During this season of uncertainty, Word Tabernacle has seen more than 70 people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.” “We at Word Tabernacle Church have trusted God through prayer, how to support our neighbors locally and abroad and volunteering during seasons of crisis. We serve five generations of worshippers and we do everything we can to ensure God’s purpose is fulfilled,” she added. Paige Minshew is a correspondent for the Rocky Mount Telegram.



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Greene County’s

Be con in the Storm

Story By Brenda Monty Photos by Brenda Monty & Contributed The charitable organization, Greene County through many hurricanes, the Great Recession Interfaith Volunteers, takes to heart a statement of 2008 and even deadly tornados in 2011. spoken by Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago.

In 2013, the organization took on the

from the Duke Endowment, Walmart, the Rouse Family Foundation and the Cannon Foundation.

Recorded in the Bible at Matthew 25:35,

However, it was the generous donations

Jesus told his followers God’s favor is based on

of land, money, time, building materials

their hospitable acts toward those in need. Organized in 1999, Interfaith was born out of one of Greene County’s greatest needs in its modern history. Hurricane Floyd struck the east coast of North Carolina. In addition to wind damage to property, trees and power lines, the 17 inches of rainfall resulted in massive flooding that crippled the region. Through the united effort of local churches and




was formed to organize home repairs and distribution of food, clothing and other resources.

“For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in ...” – Matthew 25:35

Over the years, the organization has evolved

it happen. In 2015, a debt-free, 4,000-squarefoot facility was constructed just off Kingold Boulevard in Snow Hill, behind Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Greene




businessman Tommy Rouse and the Rouse Family Foundation were was a major financial contributor to the building project, according to Dianne Andrews, Interfaith’s executive director. Piggly Wiggly franchise as well as Greene Local building contractor Albert Holloman

In addition to local fundraisers held to of Holloman Construction donated all his

in Snow Hill, where it served the community benefit the project, funding came from grants services, Andrews added.



ambitious task to acquire property and Ridge Racquet Club, donated the land.

In the early days, its operations center was construct a new building. based at a former lumber business on N.C. 58

businesses, churches and schools that made

Bobby Taylor, owner of the neighboring

not only into a food pantry, but also a statedesignated disaster recovery center.

and other resources from local individuals,

Donations of food and financial





support for the food pantry, which

picking up food boxes during the

now serves 1,000 families a month,

distribution twice a month.

continue to come from the Snow

The facility includes a walk-in

Hill Food Lion grocery store, local

freezer and warehouse with a total-

food drives and generous individuals.


Plots in the local community garden

dining room, waiting area, interview


room, office and restrooms.








Donations of eggs and produce are

At the 2015 grand opening, N.C.

often provided by local farmers. Five

Senator and former Snow Hill mayor

churches in the community provide

Don Davis noted how such a facility

regular assistance. Ace Hardware,



natural disasters and beyond.




Direction Church are also regular contributors.




“When you look at challenging times, when some families are truly

“I saw God today in the face

struggling to the point that they are

of some Greene County people

dealing with food insecurity within

helping others,” said Tanya Elks

their households and especially their

Tripp, a New Direction member who

children, this has been a blessing to

recently volunteered on a food box

this community and families across

distribution day. “They were doing

the county,” Davis said.

what the good Lord asks of them –

An example of this was during

to love and serve others... Greene

Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which

County is a lot of things, but it’s

again brought widespread flooding

mostly just home for real people

and power outages to Greene

trying to make a difference in their

County. The week following the

little corner.”

storm, Interfaith volunteers provided

The food pantry/disaster relief

thousands of hot meals to first-

center includes a drive-through

responders and hundreds of home-


delivered meals to residents in

Volunteers was named by the

flooded areas.

Food Bank of Central and Eastern

Like a beacon in the storm,

North Carolina the 2019-2020

Interfaith guided local residents

Greenville Branch Partner of

in need to resources.

Excellence and was recognized

From water and baby diapers

by the state for its outstanding

to roofing tarps and cleaning


supplies, Interfaith received and

Hurricane Matthew.



distributed mass quantities of

As for future goals, Greene

supplies flowing in from local,

County Interfaith hopes to build

state and federal sources, such as

a soup kitchen and children’s

the N.C. Food Bank in Greenville

canteen onto its facility.

and other donation centers. During







a natural disaster such as a

Interfaith also coordinates work


crews and housing for such

brought about by a recession

groups as such as Baptist Men

or unemployment during the

and others working to repair


storm-damaged homes.

County Interfaith and its nearly






In addition to the day-to-day

100 community volunteers is

operation of a community food

ready, willing and able to live up

pantry, Interfaith supplies food

to the Bible’s command to love

for summer and weekend feeding

one’s neighbor.

programs organized by local schools and county recreation. It

Brenda Monty is a retired

also participates in toy collections

staff writer for The Standard and


The Enterprise and a longtime




holidays. Greene


contributor County



Carolina Living.




Willing Believer Local man follows a vision Story & Photos by Sarah Hodges Stalls Council Smith grew up along a stretch of N.C. 903 in Martin County that is so far north, many people think is actually Halifax County.

doesn’t have to be spread at the pulpit.” “As I moved around going to and fro, the Lord showed me something

Today, he and his wife of more than 50 years, Fannie, live in a home

in a vision that one of these days church doors are going to close, which

he built on the family farm. The couple moved into their home in 2005.

is today,” he said, acknowledging the recent closure and modification of

“He’s an amazing man,” Fannie said with humble pride in her husband. “He’s a giver.”

services due to COVID-19. He initially looked toward the Biblical description of the rapture as

Only a field separates that home from another of Council’s projects

the closure disclosed in his dream, but can’t help but look at recent

- the little church in the cotton field. The small white church was

church closings caused by the pandemic. Time passed and Council

made mostly from products left over from the building of their home.

continued to meditate on the vision, which had been shown to him.

Windows came for the project all the way from Washington, D.C. long before the architect knew what he would do with them. A deacon at James Mount Pilgrim Church near Hobgood, Council proudly acknowledges being a man of faith and seeks opportunities to follow divine direction. “When you live close to the Lord and meditate on his goodness, He can show you great and mighty things,” he explained. “And the word


“’Church doors closed due to the rapture’, that’s what’s on the sign,” he said. That sign stands beside the little white church Council built as a result of the message relayed to him. “The Lord spoke to my heart and said build a little church,” he explained. Council was then led to enter the church as a float in the Oak City Christmas parade.

“Two years in a row we took first place,” he said. He would go on to enter the church in the Hamilton parade. Mrs. Fannie was initially surprised, but that did not last long. “When he showed it to me, I looked at it and said ‘I can’t believe you actually built a little church’,” she explained. “Then I thought about it: he built a house so he could build a church,” she added. He got the church home on the trailer and was then faced with a decision. Hauling it back and forth became a lot of work for the now 73-year-old and finding help to move it was not always easy. So he began listening for direction. “Maybe it will stand in the family cemetery for a while,” he wondered. And it did. That cemetery, the resting place of his father’s family, has another special touch provided by craftsman. He constructed headstones honoring those laid to rest who were buried long ago. “This relieved me from all the hassle of trying to put it on a float and trying to dress it,” said Council.

And Smith uses his knowledge and love of the subject matter to answer every question.

But it did not relieve his commitment to spreading the Lord’s word,

This is not Council’s only mission. His garden behind their home is

and he was fine with that part. Having the church and its accompanying

by no means just for the family. He takes great enjoyment in giving and

sign sitting in the field for any and all passers-by to see gave the

helping provide for those who have crossed his path.

message an entirely new and unlimited audience. “This was even better because this is spreading the word,” he smiled.

“It’s just a feeling you can’t explain,” Mrs. Fannie’s husband said. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Numerous people have since stopped and inquired about the church and its message on the sign. “What is this all about they’ll ask us, what is the rapture?” he said.

Sarah Hodges Stalls is a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living and The Enterprise.


East Carolina Timber, LLC

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Out & About is a listing of events happening in and around the 12 counties which make up the coverage region for Eastern North Carolina Living magazine. Those wishing to have an event listed should send it to: Eastern Living, Attn: Out & About, P.O. Box 69, Windsor, NC 27983. Email events to Thadd White at twhite@ncweeklies.com. Nov. 13-Jan. 10

for the holiday season.

Christmas at Chowan program

rings in the holidays with the

Main Streets Lights

They will be displayed on a

is planned for 3:30 p.m. on

Chowan Winds and the beautiful



Saturday, Nov. 21 and at the same

voices of the Chowan Singers.

Street Lighting of Murfreesboro

month of Dec.

time on Sunday, Nov. 22.

In addition, Chowan University

will be lit from Nov. 13 through

The opening reception is planned

The event will take place on

President Dr. Kirk Peterson and

Jan. 10, 2021.

for 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14.

the festive McDowell Columns

his wife, Rachel, will provide

Artists of Elements is located at

portico and the surrounding lawn.


370 Lizard Creek Rd. in Littleton.

The half hour event is free and

Attendees are encouraged to

open to the public.

bring unwrapped gifts that will be

Nov. 14-Dec. 31




Artists of Elements LITTLETON – Artists at the

Nov. 21 – Nov. 22


Artists of Elements are creating

Christmas at Chowan


ornaments, decor and small gifts


celebrates the birth of Christ and








donated to Smart Start. Nov. 28 Tarboro Holiday Market TARBORO – The Tarboro Holiday Market will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28. The market is held at 409 North Main St. in Tarboro. Dec. 5-11 Christmas At Hope WINDSOR – The Historic Hope Foundation will host Christmas at Hope on Dec. 5-11. Tours will begin at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tours are limited to eight people per tour and masks are required. The cost is $6 per person.


Hope Plantation in Windsor decorated for Christmas.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call 252-7943140




hopeplantation.org. The Historic Hope Plantation is located at 132 Hope House Rd. in Windsor.

Home of Holiday Decor.”

Tickets for the Showcase Home

Also on those dates, The Cupola

Tour and the Virtual Tour are

House will be “The Magic of

online at


christmas or call 252-482-7800.





Historic District Illumination MURFREESBORO







The Historic is

planned for 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec.

Dec. 13 Reverse Christmas Parade TARBORO – A reverse Christmas

Chowan Arts Council will become

Dec. 11-12

Main St. in Tarboro.

“Art within the Lights.”

Dec. 12

parade is planned for 2 p.m.

The second part will be a virtual

Tarboro Holiday Market

Sunday, Dec. 13 in Tarboro.

Christmas Candlelight tour of

TARBORO – The Tarboro Holiday

For more information, visit the

all 18 homes. The tour can be

Market will be held from 10 a.m.


purchased from the Edenton

until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

of Commerce at https://www.

historical Commission.

The market is held at 409 North



11 and Saturday, Dec. 12. For more information, contact the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce at 252-398-4886. Christmas Candlelight Tour EDENTON – The 39th annual Christmas Candlelight Tour will continue, but with two different parts. The first is planned for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday Dec. 12. On those dates, the historic, 1790 LittlejohnByrum home will be transformed into “A Christmas Showcase




urch ptist Ch a B k c e Mill N

First B a

ptist C hurch Rich S q


ptist ing Ba

pr Cool S


h Churc Free Union Baptist Church

Sandy Run Baptist Church

Nahalah Presbyterian Church

Photos By: Leslie Beachboard Sarah Hodges Stalls Jim Green and Thadd White

Maple Grove Baptist Church

Sound Side Free Will Baptist Church


Be Still...

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” - Psalm 46:10

TRUST T he Rev. R.O. Denton Jr. Pastor, Askewville Assembly of God

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1994, the ferry

life jackets.

We simply must trust Him. Trust Him for

MS Estonia departed Tallinn, Estonia for

They were thorough and took their time.

safety. Trust Him for strength. Trust Him for

Stockholm Sweden, carrying 989 passengers

Too much time for a six-year-old whose

comfort and peace. When we do, we can live

and crewmen.

brain can only handle so much important

life without fear.

Around 1:00 in the morning (Sept. 28) she

information. He finally turned to his mother

Along with trust, there must be obedience.

began transmitting calls for help. (Mayday)

who was holding him on her lap, and said,

Even when there is discomfort. Life jackets

Within an hour, authorities lost radar contact.

“Mom, if this boat starts sinking, will you help

were not made for comfort, but for salvation

She went down in the frigid Baltic sea,

me put that thing on?”

in storms.

carrying with her 852 souls. This was the second greatest loss of life in a single ship accident, surpassed only by the Titanic.

My wife responded, “Of course.”

We had to watch and listen for our own

He responded, “Good. I’m going to play.”

safety. We had to trust they were seaworthy

We live in difficult times. We are faced

and put them on in the proper way. The trip

with both natural and man-made disasters.

that night across the Baltic Sea was rough. I

A few weeks later, my wife, myself, and

Health issues, financial crisis or even relational

imagined what it must have been like a few

our three children - ages six, nine, and 12 -

problems often become destructive in our

weeks earlier for those passengers.

were in Stockholm, preparing to travel on the


same ferry line (Estline) back to Tallinn. The

Yet, God has given, in His Word,

weather was not good, reminiscent of the

instructions on how we can survive when

night the accident happened.

However, as my son trusted his mother and me, I trusted the ferry company to learn from the mistakes of the earlier disaster.

storms rage and we are afraid. He shows us

We must learn to trust God for protection

Before departure, all passengers were

the “rescue boat” and the “life Jackets” in His

and guidance in this stormy climate, so we

summoned to the top deck for a thorough

Word. It is important that we pay attention

will arrive safely at our eternal destination,

briefing on safety. Because of the recent

and know how to use His instructions. It is life

the shores of heaven.

disaster, everyone was attentive, even my six-

and death in cases of emergency.

year-old son. We listened as they explained

Sometimes, as children, we may not

The Rev. R.O. “Buddy” Denton Jr. is Pastor

exit procedures in case of emergency. We

understand. However, He has given us His

of Askewville Assembly of God Church. He can

observed where lifeboats were located. We

Holy Spirit to be a Helper in those times of

be reached via email at rodenton@coastalnet.

watched as they described the usage of the




T his is the Day

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24

DAILY Dr. Gary L. Cordon Pastor, Victory Temple Church of Christ

I thought it would be good to share with you a starting point for daily prayer. I know that many of you already do this. But, here is a refresher or a place to begin to pray

language of honor, decency and love from

student to pray every morning before


going to school.

The greatest love that parents give their children is to love each other.

Pray that God will protect you from danger, keep you from drugs and un-

daily. Nothing complex, just an appetizer


marital sex, prepare your minds and bodies

to get you going. I always conclude my

Pray for the will and the mind to be

for success in all of your classes‌ and help

morning prayers with the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples (Matthew 6:9-13).

respectful to your parents.

you make friends that will keep you going

Learn (study, meditate, give it attention)


to obey them. Observe those who are

Please pray for the courage to be


parents. Pray that God will teach you to be fathers and mothers, and not just a man and woman with children.





obedience. How will you teach your children

in the right direction rather than making friends that will bring you down. Remember that God loves you so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die in our places for our sins.

obedience if you don’t know how to obey

Accept His love by asking Jesus Christ to

yourself? Pray for the peace of your home.

live in your heart through faith in His Word.

taking leadership in the guiding of their

Pray for God to help your parents

Allow Him to be your LORD and Savior

lives to become what God intended.

to be delivered from the problems and

My absence as a father is the single

dilemmas they struggle with. Pray that

biggest cause of violence and crimes, the

God will give you the maturity and long life

The Rev. Dr. Gary Cordon is Pastor of

degrading/disrespect of women and the

that He promised for those who are godly

Victory Temple Church of God in Christ of

breakdown of the home.


Windsor. He can be reached via email at

Pray as men to raise your children,

Pray as women to have self worth and dignity. Children will learn your unspoken



pastor@vtcogic.org or through his website at

I want every child, teenager and college



T he Carpenter’s Tools


T he Rev. Dr. Wallace Phillips Pastor, Carpenter’s Shop International Church

Okay... I made the move!

sure all of them had an ample supply of water

hearts through faith--that you, being rooted

Yes, I went to the store and bought the

to get started on their journey.

and grounded in love,

plants, potting soil, Miracle Gro and all that is

I couldn’t help but notice the tabs on

18 may have strength to comprehend with

needed to get into the groove with porch pots

each one, telling me the number of days in

all the saints what is the breadth and length

and garden spots.

which I could expect delicious fruits from my

and height and depth,

It seems I wasn’t alone in this feat. The

labor. We shall see.

aisles of the greenhouse area were flooded

With the right sun, water, weed removal

with guys and gals making their picks of the

and the like we should be in fine business

popular plants - Gerber Daisies, Geraniums

especially since we juice them with a little

and the like.

Miracle Gro along the way.

19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Paul fully expected the power of the

Next, I made my way to the vegetable

My plants in the garden and in the pots

Holy Spirit to strengthen the believers. And

packs and chose my favorites; red bell pepper,

are grounded well. That makes me think of

because they were “rooted and grounded”

sweet banana pepper, grape tomatoes, Better

the importance of myself being grounded in

they would exceed anyone’s expectation of

Boy’s, and so on.

the Word of God as I walk out this journey as

walking in the fullness of God. They would

a Christian. Paul prayed for this very thing for

grow. They would produce fruit.

Then it was off to the house to get these tender plants into the ground.

the Ephesian believers and for us as well.

My first move was to clear the garden of

Like them, let us make every effort to be grounded in the Word and nurtured

weeds that had made their way up through

Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV

through connection with other believers in

my pine straw covering for the winter. After

14 For this reason I bow my knees before

fellowship. Have a great week, and consider

weed removal I spread a little fertilizer and mixed it all in leaving a nice base of turned black Rocky Hock sand in which to plan these hopefuls.

the Father,

planting your own little garden.

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his

Dr. Wallace Phillips is Sr. Pastor at Carpenter’s Shop International Church in Ahoskie.


I gently removed them one by one

glory he may grant you to be strengthened

them for worship this Sunday at 10 a.m. at 903

and placed them in my garden and in the

with power through his Spirit in your inner

South Catherine Creek Road in Ahoskie, or join

designated spots and pots. When it was all


them on the web at csicministries.com for a

done I set the water hose to mist and made


17 so that Christ may dwell in your

livestream event.

Grace & Truth


T he Rev. Emmanuel Webb Hoggard Pastor-Elect, Askewville Assembly of God

A few years ago, I was on a plane heading

I knew this was going to be the end of my

offensive, too intrusive, too hurtful for you

to Arizona to be with my wife’s family over

sleep now. He began telling me how he was

to say, “I feel it.” I feel where you are coming

the New Year’s week.

impressed that a man could give his “works”

from. I hurt with you. I have joy with you. It is

to an invisible god.

the idea of ‘I feel what you feel.’

I was really looking forward to some rest and relaxation. I thought it would start on my

He stated that religion was for people

Jesus did this so many times in Scripture.

four-hour flight. I hoped I would be snoozing

who were too weak to live their own lives the

He would talk to sinners and, even worse, tax

all the way there.

way they want.

collectors and empathize with their stories,

Little did I realize that I would be sitting

He slandered me, the history of the

beside someone that would change those

church, the beliefs of creation, the virgin

Today, perhaps the best thing I can tell


birth, and even the resurrection. He called

you reading this is no matter what is deeply

Mary, the mother of Jesus, a liar.

put in your heart that seems to always

He promptly told me his name and that he was traveling from Afghanistan to home in Phoenix. I could immediately feel that I was not going to get my much-desired rest.

With each comment I listened. I calmly rebutted. There were things he said of the church’s

I told him where I was going and that I

failures that I agreed with and I apologized

was traveling without my wife because I had

on behalf of all Christians, as if I could do

to work the day before (Sunday), hoping to

that. His skepticism was met with patience

shroud the “I’m a pastor, an ambassador of

and, sometimes, with acquiescence.

the Most High God, may I pray for you today, child” conversation. It didn’t work. He asked what line of work I was in..... “I’m a pastor,” I said quietly. He responded with such glee, “Really? I’m a devout Atheist.”

He searched for anger in me, and all I felt was compassion.

skepticism, blindness, and pains.

breed anger, contempt, embarrassment or bondage, there is someone that will not judge you. He loves you. He feels what you do. Is there someone near you who just needs to hear from you, “I feel you?” By the way, that man ran me down after our flight and introduced me to his wife: “This is Pastor Webb, my new friend.”

The Spanish equivalent for our English phrase “I’m sorry” is “Lo Siento” which means literally “I feel it.” I think so often people just need to know that nothing they could say could be too

Pastor Emanuel Webb Hoggard is PastorElect of Askewville Assembly of God Church. He can be reached via email at pastorwebb@ hotmail.com.


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Day’s Trip



After a long year filled with uncertainty from a global pandemic, I have been looking for options to still socially distance while experiencing the best of North Carolina. Goldsboro is just the place in eastern North Carolina, and offers a great experience! Thanks to the unique mix of Southern charm and tranquil outdoor spaces, there are a lot of things to do in Goldsboro -some of which are: spending time in their thriving downtown scene, trying an upcoming craft beer and eating delicious BBQ. Goldsboro is the perfect spot for a day trip from the counties in the Eastern Living community and is also a great spot for an overnight trip, too! Check out all the great things to do in Goldsboro below including an overnight itinerary. Grab a coffee and a pastry at Labrar Coffee Labrar Coffee is a quaint, intimate coffee shop right in downtown Goldsboro. I loved their drip coffee and their kale danish. I loved the artwork and the outdoor seating.

Hike the Cliffs of the Neuse Take a quick, relatively flat hike around the Cliffs of the Neuse. It’s a little under three miles with well-maintained trails, beautiful views and history incorporated into the hike. The state park also has a campground with cabins for rent, a swimming lake and a boat house where you can rent standup paddle boards and pedal boats.

Lunch at Jay’s Sushi and Burger Bar This Asian-American fusion restaurant is located right downtown. I highly recommend the Bulgogi fries, trying one of their sushi rolls and definitely their burger. It was great to go with friends and sample a little bit of everything because the menu is really eclectic and delicious. It’s a Goldsboro staple!

Cliffs of the Neuse

Jay’s Sushi and Burger Bar



Day’s Trip

Downtown Goldsboro

Explore Downtown Goldsboro

Brews and Cues Tour

Enjoy Breakfast at Kathy’s Kitchen

Downtown Goldsboro is a thriving scene with boutiques,

Looking for a good, home-style country breakfast? Definitely

restaurants, bottle shops and lots of murals! I spent the afternoon

stop at Kathy’s Kitchen. This type of restaurant is one of my favorite

wandering around downtown, popping in and out of boutiques, and

aspects of small towns in North Carolina, and this one is no exception.

my favorite was Carolina Pine Country Store. I picked up a few gifts for

Their breakfast menu is extensive and delicious.

the upcoming holiday season, plus they sell Annie Sloan chalk paint. The murals are quite interesting.

Saturday Morning Yoga at Brewmasters

Find a Local Event.

at BrewMasters is a great option. Stay for a pint after class. There is

Flow yoga is a great way to start a weekend, and this free class While I was in town (pre-COVID), I attended WISE: Women

plenty of free parking around downtown, so make a day of it.

Inspiring Success and Empowerment, a fireside chat with inspiring women leaders in North Carolina. Our panel guests were N.C. Chief

Brews and Cues Tour

Justice Cheri Beasley, WRAL morning anchor Renee Chou, North

This tour of Goldsboro and Wayne County is a great way to eat and

Carolina author Kristy Woodson Harvey and chef Vivian Howard.

drink your way through the area. Start your tour at Brew Works and

Paramount Theatre often has events happening, or just stroll

learn more about the taproom and bottle shop.

downtown and see what’s going on at various businesses.

Check In for an Overnight Stay I stayed at the Hampton Inn and was greeted with hot coffee, a warm towel and friendly service. My room was cozy, with soft bed linens and a comfy bed, which really made for a good night’s sleep to gear up for the next day.


Grab lunch at Adams Downtown BBQ A new restaurant in the downtown scene. Adams BBQ has a roadside stand out on Highway 70, and recently opened a second location in downtown.

Microbrewery in Mt. Olive

Adam’s Downtown BBQ

R&R Brewing, which features a lager called Pickletown beer after the famous Mt. Olive Pickle Company, located right at the end of the street from R&R. Don’t let the exterior fool you; R&R is tastefully decorated with personalized touches throughout. Plus, Max the Saint Bernard is there to greet you, which really was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

McCall’s BBQ and Seafood A Goldsboro institution for the last 30 years. McCall’s has some of the best eastern North Carolina-style BBQ and their buffet has something for everyone. I find it also worth noting that while I am not a fan of bananas, I make an exception for McCall’s banana pudding. I hope you enjoy a socially distant day or overnight trip to Goldsboro soon! Stay safe, be well and wear a mask! Meghan Grant is the author of the blog, “I’m Fixing’ To…” and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

R&R Brewing

McCall’s BBQ and Seafood



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Kitchen Sylvia Hughes with her grandmother, Bertie Dameron.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good potluck supper at church?

family gatherings. While I want to share a few recipes with

The food is wonderful. You get so many

you, I also want to share a little humor about

different dishes, it is hard to get a little

church meals. These were reported from

sample of each one on your plate - and it is

church bulletins:

oh, so good. Church ladies are the best cooks. Many of their recipes are the ones they learned from their mothers and grandmothers. The old ways are still hard to beat. Then you get to the dessert table and you don’t even know where to start with that little dessert plate because the table is loaded down and you want to try it all. But the food is only half of the reason potlucks are great. There is the fellowship with your church family. Everyone is smiling and laughter can be heard all over the building. This is the reason they are called Fellowship Halls. I read an article that said potlucks suppers at the church are dying out. I don’t know

* Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch. * Potluck supper Sunday at 5 pm - prayer and medication to follow. * A cookbook is being compiled by the ladies of the church. Please submit your favorite recipe, also a short antidote for it. * The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility. * A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow. * Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 am. All ladies are invited to lunch in the fellowship hall after the B.S. is done.

where the author was doing his research ,but

* Ushers will eat latecomers.

it definitely couldn’t have been in the South.

Had enough humor? Let’s get to the

The thing we are known best for is food and


Sylvia Hughes is a retired newspaper editor and columnist residing in Windsor. In addition to three sons, she has a gaggle of grandchildren, many of whom love cooking with her just as she did with her mother and grandmother.


Old Fashioned Chicken Pie cepan. Blend water and flour in a sau use until 1- 3 pound chicken, can ring stir lly, Add stock gradua r chicken rotisserie chicken or leftove thick. Stir in cream. and or turkey Season to taste with salt r flou ¼ cup pepper. ¼ cup water st and Arrange chicken in one cru 2 cups chicken stock n. cke pour the sauce over the chi l. Cut ¼ cup light cream Place crust on top and sea per pep Salt, dle. three - two inch slits in mid 2 deep dish pie crusts degrees. 450 at s Bake 15-20 minute chicken, If cooking your own y, you eas so Note: This recipe is debone. and ore bef day the k coo rch meal. could make several for a chu . rate Refrige Next day, shred chicken.

Mrs. Norman’s Congealed Cranberry Salad 1 16 oz. Can of whole cranberries 1 large or two small orange jello 1 small can crushed pineapple, undrained 14-oz. Ginger ale ¾ cup each of chopped celery and nuts. Dressing: 1 cup sour cream 1/3 cup mayonnaise 3 to 4 tablespoons confectioners sugar Melt cranberry saucepan Add jello and dissolve. Add pineapple, then ginger ale

slowly. Place in mold and refrigerate Let it begin to congeal, then add celery and nuts. Stir all dressing ingredients together. Notes: This dressing is good for all fruit salads or as a dip This could change the minds of those who don’t like cranberry sauce. If you use a mold with hole in center, you can put dressing in center hole

Carrot Cake en out This recipe is old and has fall of use. Time to revive it. 1st mixture 2 cups sugar 1 ½ cups oil 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla e Beat well and add 2nd mixtur 2nd mixture

2 cups self-rising flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons cinnamon Add to 1st mixture Fold in 3 cups grated carrots floured Bake in well greased and pan. Can use baking spray. rees Bake 30 minutes at 350 deg Frosting


Making Music For The Lord Story by Sarah DaviS PhotoS by hugh DaviS

“So you’re still playing your music?” she asked. He replied, “Yes, but now I’m playing for the Lord.”

in 1962, his family moved to Murfreesboro,

1966, in only nineteen months, he was

and he entered C.S. Brown School in Winton

Sergeant Gaines.

where he met Band Director Frank Cason.

Leaving the military in September 1969,

Noting that Cason allowed him to audition

he returned to Norfolk General Hospital

That question from Margaret Hampton

to play in the band, he describes Cason

where he was approached by an FBI agent

of Murfreesboro and answer from Larry

as setting him on the right path, “reaching

from the Norfolk office who was interested

Gaines of Washington, D.C., at a Sunday

down and picking me up.” Learning to play

in recruiting a group of former military

service at Phillipi Baptist Church during the

practically every instrument in the band,

persons for service to the Bureau.

weekend of a C.S. Brown School reunion

Gaines was hooked on music and wanted to

For him to enter such service required a

in 2000 was the beginning of Gaines’

pursue higher education in the field. Cason

background check, meaning that someone

permanent return to Murfreesboro - after

arranged for an audition at Elizabeth City

came to Murfreesboro to investigate Gaines’

leaving more than four decades earlier.

State (now University), which Gaines passed

background, seeing the place he lived, talking

- but Gaines could not afford college at that

to friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

In those 40-plus years, the Hertford County






Gaines related that, knowing of the

Murfreesboro resident – who is a C.S. Brown

Instead, upon graduating from C.S.

process, he was concerned; his house

School graduate, would see the world, serve

Brown in 1966, he entered the military, but

hadn’t been the best in the neighborhood; it

with the United States Army, the F.B.I., the

first, he left Murfreesboro the day following

lacked amenities he considered luxuries but

D.C. Capitol Police and D.C. Department of

his high school graduation for a job in the

others might consider necessities; he didn’t

Corrections, as well as drive for Continental

kitchen at Norfolk General Hospital. His

necessarily want to be known for what he


years in the U.S. Army (1966-1969) took him

had known - or, more specifically - what he hadn’t known.


from North Carolina (Ft. Bragg), northeast to

photographed with President Bill Clinton




New Jersey (Ft. Dix), back south to Virginia

Upon completion of the investigation, he

and Queen Elizabeth II, he is still ordinary

(Ft. Lee) and northwest to Wasington (Ft.

was told he had no cause for concern, that

enough to live in Murfreesboro.

Lewis), as well as out of the U.S.A. He even

after ample investigation, the conclusion

served in Turkey, based only two hundred

was that if a person from his background

miles from Russia.

had been able to complete high school and

Larry Gaines spent his early years in Ahoskie and attended R.L. Vann School under the principalship of H.D. Cooper. Then,


Enlistment as a private in September

come as far as he had, he was welcome in

the FBI where he then served as




Washington, D.C.

went back to D.C. Then, a few days later, she received a phone call from him.

Other work in D.C. included

Her immediate reaction was

stints with the D.C. Capitol

“How did you get my number?”

Police and D.C. Department of

He informed her that, being a

Corrections as well as serving

policeman, he could certainly

as a driver for Continental

track down a telephone number.

Trailways, fulfilling a long held

There ensued a long-distance








Corrections unit, in which he

in their July 17, 2010, wedding

was the only African-American,


was about five miles from the

Murfreesboro to her family

Pentagon, but it was close

home, not far from where he

enough for their building to

lived as a high school student.

shake when the Pentagon was struck.





Back in Murfreesboro, he has worked as a Bailiff for the

In 2000, he was visiting in

Sheriff’s Department where he

the area to attend a C.S. Brown

has been lauded by attorneys

Reunion; that Sunday morning,

and judges alike for his manner

he was asked to provide special

of calling court to order. He has

music for the service at Phillipi

also continued with his music;

Church in Cofield. He played a

able to play many instruments,

trumpet solo, “It is Well With

he always wanted to add the

My Soul.” Classmate Margaret

keyboard to that list and is now


mastering it.



music from high school days

Through his church, First

approached him about it. He

Baptist of Murfreesboro, where

responded. They talked. She

he serves as a Deacon, he

went home in Murfreesboro. He






creating the “Instruments of

of Washington, D.C. Singing

Praise,” a group of students to

during Black History Month,

make music for the Lord. He

the group provided music in

continues mentoring HCPS

the different churches in the

students in music and life. In

different towns and different

jam sessions at King’s Coffee,


he has assisted musicians,

He is also part of the Men’s

including Chowan University







Ministry, both groups active

patrons with the depth and

in providing for needs in the

breadth of his musical ability.


When living in Washington,






he sang with a Men’s Chorus,

ministry, he has played “Taps”

and he brought that concept

on many occasions. While

to Hertford County, organizing

in Washington, he always

a mass choir that included

participated in ceremonies on

participants from First Baptist,

Police Memorial Day, May 15.


There, he and a partner played

to play the haunting notes

come back to Murfreesboro,

“Echo Taps.”

of “Taps” at the memorial at

and every day he gives back to


a community where his journey




Grove, all of Murfreesboro, New Bethany of Harrellsville,






Pleasant Plains of Ahoskie,



Building. Having played during

First Baptist of Severn, as well

impressive than Memorial Day

so many official ceremonies, he

as First Baptist of Franklin,

2020 when, with ceremonies

said he couldn’t let the day pass

Virginia, Mt. Olive Baptist

to honor the fallen postponed

without playing it.



Church of Arlington, Virginia

or cancelled, he joined with

He has travelled far in every

and Mt. Carmel Baptist Church

others throughout the country

sense of the word, but he has


began. Sarah Davis is a retired librarian and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living and the Bertie Ledger-Advance.

County: Halifax Marker ID: E-113 Original Date Cast: 2006


TILLERY RESETTLEMENT Est. 1935; New Deal farm project. 350 black families from N.C., S.C., Fla., Ark., Va. purchased homesteads. Restored house 1 mi. E.

MARK IT! Title To Begin Here

Rabore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam Information courtesy of the voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no


s part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration—and beginning in 1935 the Resettlement Administration

— helped to establish homestead communities that encouraged landownership and, in many cases, fostered agricultural skills. In North Carolina, the resettlement projects were rural farming homesteads. Planning for the communities was carried out by the North Carolina Rehabilitation Corporation with approval by the Emergency Relief Administration. Site surveys of the subsistence homesteads were conducted by the state agricultural colleges and appraisals were made by the Federal Land Bank. Prospective colonists or other relief workers completed the construction. Settlers were selected by the Resettlement Administration. The idea behind the homesteads was that the settlers would rehabilitate the land and learn valuable agricultural and subsistence skills. Once the farm was in working order, the homesteader could purchase the land through the federal government. The two other resettlement communities in North Carolina were Penderlea (white) and Pembroke Farms (Indian). There were 113 resettlement projects in the United States, thirteen of which offered homesteads to blacks. North Carolina hosted one of the country’s largest ventures in rural Halifax County. The overall project, launched in 1935, was named Roanoke Farms, with the white settlers assigned to a section called Roanoke Farms, and African Americans to a section called Tillery Farms. Roanoke Farms was the only resettlement project established by the Federal Emergency

N.C. 561 and N.C. 481 at Tillery

Relief Administration that held sections for both races. At its peak, Roanoke Farms (including Tillery) consisted of 294 forty-acre farms, each costing about $7,454. Tillery Farms


provided a school, a community center, and a cooperative

References: Paul Conkin, Tomorrow a New World: The New Deal

store. Homesteaders came from North Carolina, Virginia,

Community Program (1959)

South Carolina, Florida, and Arkansas. The community spirit

Concerned Citizens of Tillery, “Remembering Tillery . . .”: A New Deal

that was encouraged by the resettlement program continues

Resettlement (1997)

today. A present-day resident states that Tillery, about 98

Concerned Citizens of Tillery website: http://www.cct78.org/ Local History (1996)

percent black, is progressive, filled with citizens interested in education and politics.


PARTING SHOTS Thadd White at the Cashie River in Windsor, Bertie County.

Any of you who have listened to comedian Steve Harvey talk about his upbringing in church will know what I mean when I say we went to church all the time. As the comedian said, we didn’t just go to Sunday service and Wednesday service. We went to every service. My mother, who most of you probably know as the author of Grandma’s Kitchen, took us to Ebenezer Assembly of God (between Windsor and Aulander) every time the door was open. We were there Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, prayer meeting, revival meeting, kids meeting, women’s meeting – you name it, we’ve been to it. I can’t speak for my brother, Scott, but I don’t remember having any problems with it. It was just what we did. In my younger days, I remember being so excited when I went upstairs to Sunday School and when I made the transition to the

As you thumb through these pages you will meet some who are in ministry full-time and others who have given of themselves as volunteers, and you will hear their stories of believing in God and serving a higher calling. 90

youth class, you couldn’t tell me anything. Our Pastor was the late Rev. Raymond Hoggard Sr. for most of that time, but I often say I had two pastors growing up – Preacher Raymond as most people called him – and the Rev. R.O. Denton Sr., who pastored my grandmother’s church at Askewville. That’s because if I wasn’t at church with mom, I was likely at church with my grandma, Vivian. I’d be remiss if I omitted my yearly trips to the Assemblies of God camp on Cooper Hill Road in Windsor. There I heard some of my all-time favorite preachers including the Rev. Darrell McClaren and the late B.H. Clendennen. In my adulthood I have also been blessed with wonderful pastors who have made my life better – men such as the late Rev. Jack Byrd, Dr. Tommy Kiker, the Rev. Wallace Phillips, the Rev. R.O. “Buddy” Denton Jr. and Pastor Jay Rivenbark. All of them have guided me in my spiritual walk. My foundations were the beginning of my lifelong faith in God, and belief in the divine. My story probably isn’t unlike many of you in the 12 counties covered by Eastern North Carolina Living. That’s why we wanted to introduce you to some men and women

of faith in our region and to let you read their stories of faith, triumph and, at times, tragedy. As you thumb through these pages you will meet some who are in ministry full-time and others who have given of themselves as volunteers, and you will hear their stories of believing in God and serving a higher calling. I won’t take you through each story this time as I do others because I think you need to learn them for yourself as you read. I think the investment of time will be well worth it. Also, as I close my second year as Editor of this publication I love so dearly, I want to thank each of you for staying with us through transition and learning. We hope you’re glad you did. We’ll be back in January when we feature stories about all things music. Until next time, remember… all who wander are not lost. Continue joining us as we wander through Beaufort, Bertie, Edgecombe, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Tyrrell and Washington counties. Thadd White is Editor of Eastern North Carolina Living and the Bertie LedgerAdvance.




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