fa ith H
Celebrating Our Mountain Churches
Boone United Methodist Church Opens its Arms Larry Young
Passion for Preaching
Street Corner Ministry
Young Pastor, Old Soul
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Photography by Tara Diamond
We invite you to sit back and read about faith in the High Country. Itâ€™s going to help pull us all through these times of uncertainty and will hopefully give us a glimmer of hope for the future. B
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
What’s Inside ing about him as they passed through town.
36 ..Up On the Hill
12 12 . . . BUMC Keeps Growing
Boone United Methodist church upholds the values of community that have made it a strong local organization since its initial beginnings as a congregation of a couple dozen people meeting in the Watauga County Courthouse.
26 . . . Dipper on the Corner
Some people have called him crazy. Some have just stared at him in amazement and wonder. Some have brushed him off, thinking little or noth-
Crossnore Presbyterian Church has stood as a beacon for more than a century, overlooking the quiet historic community that shares its name.
48 . . Ethan Greene
Ethan Greene wants his life to count for Jesus. Plain and simple. “I want people to know that there is a God and that He is real and will be real to them if they will let Him be.”
58 . . . Dr. Larry Young
The Rev. Larry Young, longtime pastor of Brookside Presbyterian Church in Boone, is a softspoken, dignified gentleman of the cloth, and he leaves no one doubting his stance in life.
Celebrating Our Mountain Churches
hurches, regardless of location or denomination, are known for their weekly services. Through this issue of Faith Magazine, we wanted to display more than just those Saturday or Sunday services. Each church brings so many different people together, and through this, it can accomplish great things. It’s the stories of those great accomplishments that we wanted to tell. Within this magazine, we can only scratch the surface of the kinds of ministries and movements that are being made in the county by churches large and small. Churches, regardless of size, location or denomination, can influence and change the lives of many through their faith. We hope you enjoy our take on what local congregations do as we celebrate our mountain churches in Faith Magazine. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
fai t h
High Country Press Publications
A Note From The Publisher
Publisher Ken Ketchie
Celebrating Our Mountain Churches
HIGH COUNTY PRESS
elcome to our online version of this spring’s Faith Magazine. With the COVID-19 disruptions taking place, we decided to put the printed version of the magazine on hold until we get an all-clear signal from government Ken Ketchie authorities that communities can get back to work and people can return to Ken Ketchie their normal routines. For the time being, this church members. After the service, is where you can flip through pages we were told that, to be on the safe of Faith and read our stories for the side, a dozen or so people got up and 2020 edition. Hopefully, you will find left before the service started. It was this internet platform easy for viewjust that previous Wednesday, a NBA ing the magazine. basketball game was cancelled minSuddenly, we’re all having to learn utes before it started, as more and about ways to stay connected using more major public events were being the Internet and various video platcancelled. And the stock market was forms available to us. Technology has crashing! been a blessing for many churches, It was on that Sunday morning that as they have been able to broadcast the news hit close to home, as talk live-stream church services directly to of looming shutdowns began to take members’ homes, along with recordshape. The floor fell out from under ings available for viewing at one’s us — and things came to a standstill. convenience. At that point, we suspended adverAnd all of this happened so fast! tising sales for the magazine, as busiWe were beginning production of nesses came to terms with forced closthis year’s magazine when first hear- ings and people were told to stay at ing news reports of the new corona- home. With the editorial production virus popping up around the world. side of the magazine nearly complete, Like everyone else, we took note, but we decided to continue the layout of continued with our efforts to gather the magazine, minus the advertising, stories and arrange for photography. for an Internet version . . . and now Interviews were still possible and you have it here to enjoy. I feel sure that my future columns photos were taken. will talk about changes and challenges It started to hit home on March of being on to the other side of this 15 while photographing a Sunday mess, because I also know the strength church service for the magazine. We of this community — and I know that heard of the first positive case of the we can certainly do this together! virus in Watauga County from the
High Country Press Publications 4
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
High Country Press
Fa i t h
Magazine A Publication Of
Editor Sherrie Norris Photography Editor Tara Diamond Art Director Debbie Carter Contributing Writer Joe Johnson
Cover Photo By Tara Diamond Crossnore Presbyterian Church towers upon the hillside in all its peaceful grandeur, and has provided a sanctuary of sorts during its 100-plus years, somewhat of a regal structure reaching heavenward — and nothing like one would expect to find in such a quaint Western North Carolina neighborhood. High Country Press Faith Magazine is published by High Country Press Publications of Boone, North Carolina. All content © 2020. All rights reserved. Reproduction, either in whole or in part, is forbidden without written permission from the publisher.
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Keeping the Faith In A Time of Uncertainty
By Sherrie Norris
ate last year, our staff met to begin planning our annual Spring issue of Faith Magazine. We were all excited about the possibilities that awaited. The story ideas came easily and we were in agreement that it was time to feature some of those unsung heroes of the faith who were “out there,” but rarely, if ever, received the formal recognition they deserved. Sure, we had seen the gentle giant, Dipper Garrison, on the street corner for 25 years holding up his ‘Jesus Loves You’ signs. But, did we really know what was behind his constant efforts to remind others about Jesus? Why is that so important to him? We decided to find out, and we’re so glad we did. And, yes, that century-old magnificent Presbyterian Church in Crossnore that stands like a beacon overlooking the peaceful village below, has a unique history into which we delved — and knew you would love reading all about it. And, that’s just the beginning of what we had on our list of stories to fill what we hoped would be another keepsake publication, something that you, our readers have told us you enjoy this time every year. But, then, things began to change. Our world began to change. It seemed like, overnight, in midMarch, just as we were preparing to finalize our stories and begin the layout process, life as we knew it came to a standstill. 6
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
While it is our privilege to continue to bring you up-to-date local news daily on our website and Facebook, it saddens us that we, at High Country Press, are unable to fulfill our obligation and desire to offer you a print version of this year’s Faith Magazine. We hope, at some point, to be able to do so, but for now, we want you to enjoy flipping through the virtual pages on our website. We are grateful for our advertisers who support our efforts on a regular basis, and while we understand they are focused on keeping their own businesses afloat, we hope they will be able to return to walk this journey with us in the near future. We’re all in this together — and together, we will survive. So, we invite you to sit back and read about faith in the High Country. It’s going to help pull us all through these times of uncertainty and will hopefully give us a glimmer of hope for the future — and help us know what not to do when it’s all over.
High Country Strong The High Country, our little piece of heaven, a once-safe corner of the world, learned of its first case of the Coronavirus on Sunday morning, March 15. As that news hit fast and hard, another case was soon diagnosed, and then another one — and so it continued for several days, but thankfully, at a slower pace
Photography by Tara Diamond
than other locations were experiencing. Suddenly, schools, churches and businesses began closing down for two weeks, then for a month, and then, indefinitely. Residents, young and old alike, were encouraged to stay at home, to basically put life on hold. At first, we were told not to congregate in groups of 100, then 50 — and then 10. Not all chose to abide by the “rules,” but most people took the warning seriously. “Essential” workers were thrust into the spotlight as our heroes, some for the first time ever: medical staff, first responders/law enforcement officers, truck drivers, postal workers, and yes, grocery store employees — all on the “front lines” of providing basic human necessities. And, that hasn’t changed in recent days. We now easily recognize our true “heroes,” and we are thankful for them. Daily, the news headlines and special briefings have gotten our attention — the virus has been spreading like wildfire in nearly every corner of the world. And, our little domain, right here in Northwestern North Carolina, was hit with a storm like we’ve never known before. And, like we’ve proved in times past, although never at this level, we are survivors. We don’t buckle under pressure easily. If the way we’ve always done something doesn’t work, we just try another way. Ask our local school superintendents how quickly they were able to mobilize their faculty, staff, stu-
dents and parents into a new mode of operation. Yes, everyone became home-school students and instructors, and parents who never thought they could “do it,” are doing it well. Students who rely on school breakfasts and lunches have not gone without — and some even receive home-delivered meals, thanks to school personnel who jumped into whatever job they were asked to do – and did it with pride and compassion. Food banks, several of which are sponsored by local churches, kicked in with provisions for families in nearly every community; food-related businesses that have been forced to close have been generous in donating their stock to the pantries, as well as to the Hospitality House, joining faith communities and other nonprofit organizations in providing meals for the homeless. At the same time, the High Country community, as a whole, has come together incredibly to support those restauGrace Lutheran rants that are staying afloat by ordering take-outs and enjoying their food at home. Some businesses have had to close, hopefully only temporarily, while others remain open, but cautiously optimistic. Nail and hair salons, as well as other services considered “essential” for many, were ordered to close, leaving numerous independent professionals suddenly without income — and their clients wondering about how things will “look” for FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
rallied quickly to formulate ways to keep their congregations connected, in some cases implementing “new” styles of worship for their members and visitors. While the personal and social interaction is definitely something we’re missing, many of us are fortunate to receive frequent updates on church business via the Internet; perhaps for the first time, many are still able hear from our pastors, along with praise and worship teams, through livestream and/or recorded sermons and music. It has been refreshing, and comforting, for some, like my own Sunday School class, to “meet” a couple times a week from the comfort of our own homes, thanks to modern technology/ video conferencing and communication opportunities like Zoom. The concept was quite foreign to some of us “old-timers” a short time ago, but has now become a muchanticipated novelty and relief, of sorts. We are basically face-to-face, Grace Lutheran able to share concerns, prayer requests, praises, and hear from our teacher as he shares our weekly lessons. Other pastors and teachers are bringing their messages of hope and encouragement to Facebook and other social media avenues, as well as through their Hanging On To Our Faith church’s websites, recorded weekly for the conveAnd Sharing the Love nience of their members and guests who can watch Sunday mornings within the last month have tak- at their leisure. en on new meaning around the High Country and Church pastors and staff members are still workbeyond. Just as have school leaders and others done, ing, whether in their offices onsite, or safely in their local pastors and advisors in the faith communities homes, and available to their members. them in the near future. The closures and uncertainties, overall, have resulted in many working people being “furloughed” either temporarily, and sadly, in many cases, permanently. And, the deluge of unemployment claims and economic stimulus payments are not materializing as quickly as some might hope. At the same time, many special events that usually fill the calendar this time of year are being put “on hold,” held remotely/virtually or cancelled all together: festivals, fundraisers, weddings, parties, proms — even high school and college graduations. Who would have imagined? We’ve also learned a whole new vocabulary in recent weeks: Social distancing, self-isolation, pandemic, abundance of caution, community spread, flatten the curve, quarantine, panic buying — words and phrases we’ve likely never heard in one conversation before. It is a “strange time,” indeed, but through it, hopefully, we will survive and come back stronger than ever before. Someone said to me recently, “I can’t wait to get back to normal.” My reply: “I hope we do better than that.”
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While most churches are trying to keep connected, it is also important for their members to remember that tithes and offerings are still needed. Most churches have offered alternate giving opportunities, through mail or online gifts. “The coronavirus has had a major impact on our faith communities and our county,” said Pastor Kathy Campbell at Crossnore Presbyterian Church. “Like everyone else, we are struggling to find healthy and safe ways to care for our loved ones, our members, and our community. We stopped holding worship and all other meetings in our church building as soon as the wisdom of social distancing was made clear, but we continue our ministry and outreach in many other ways.” Pastor Campbell sends out a worship service every Sunday with Bible readings, liturgy, a sermon and links to wonderful music on YouTube. In addition, Campbell and the members of the church session are making phone calls to every member of their church community at least every two weeks. “These calls have been a wonderful way for us to stay in touch, and it means a great deal to those who are living alone and not able to visit their extended family and friends,” she said. “We ask how they are coping, what fun things are keeping them busy, and how are they reaching out to help others in safe and healthy ways. We also ask them who/ what they would like us to pray for. Some calls last for five minutes while others may last an hour. It is always good fellowship, except we miss hugging one another.”
The folks at Crossnore are also learning to use technology (like Zoom) to have virtual weekly Bible study together and have all kinds of small group gatherings. “This has been a learning curve for all of us, but whoever said that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks didn’t know how resourceful church people can be!” The Crossnore Presbyterian Church family is reaching out to serve its local community, as well. “We are providing funds so that the food pantries in Avery County can buy groceries, and are helping other agencies respond to emergencies needs for assistance with rent, electricity and medicine,” Campbell shared. “One couple in our church took in a homeless family for a month, and several of our members are volunteering on Fridays with Feeding Avery Families, where the number of food boxes going to those in need doubled in the past week. Other church members are checking on elderly neighbors and picking Mt Vernon Baptist up groceries and medicine for those in need of a little help.” God is active and present in our community and in our world and is the powerful force in all of our lives, Campbell continued. “We just need to open our eyes and look around. We know God is there on the front lines with the heroes who are risking their lives to care for others—the medical and emergency professionals caring for the sick, the government officials who are trying to provide needed resources, the scientists who are racing to create medicines and a vaccine, the grocery and pharmacy staff who are providing daily essentials, and many others who FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
serve at risk. But we also know that God is here with all of us as we maintain our social distance, shelter in place, homeschool our children, try to work from home, fight our anxieties and loneliness, recover from COVID-19, and grieve for the loss of our loved ones and all those who have died from this virus.” It is Campbell’s belief that good will come out of this time of pandemic, she said. “As we once again remember that we are all God’s children and we are all here on this earth to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.” The Rev. Larry Young, Pastor of Brookside Presbyterian Church in Boone, shared that his services stopped on March 15, until further notice. “ I have made use of email to keep in touch with the congregation. Also, I’ve made use of old-fashioned telephone calls, left messages when possible if I’m not able to speak to the person I’m calling — and enjoy receiving phone calls and messages St Mary’s Catholic back at the church.” With a chuckle, Young said, he wrote a message to an out-of-town friend who always emails or texts — and said it was something for the millennials to think about: “ I call the local folks on the old-fashioned telephone and talk to them with my voice streaming in real time. It’s a unique experience. You ought to try it.” Young said he is not “high-tech” like his friend, Pastor David Cooper, at South Fork Baptist in Todd. “I don’t have Facebook, so I don’t stream a service, but I’ve emailed out Sunday mini-sermons for Sundays, have sent out mid-week messages, and have sent out prayer requests to the Brookside Family, as we call the congregation.”
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Union Baptist Church in Zionville is one that has caught on to the new style of “parking lot worship service” — and according to longtime member, Lottie Warren Oliver, it’s different, but working well. “Fortunately, our parking lot allows easy access for parking lot worship,” she said, “and no one gets out of their cars. We have been following the state mandates of social distancing.” Service begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings. “We are very thankful to be able to at least attend and hear God’s message through our Pastor Vernon Eller.” To help get their minds focused on the Lord, Oliver said, the pastor plays gospel CDs for the opening as people are driving in. He stands on the front porch of the church and delivers the message. Thankfully, Oliver added, the church already had speakers and microphones for outside. “We also just purchased a transmitter for us to be able to sit in our cars, side by side with our windows up, and listen on our radios. We are also able to give our tithes and offerings at the end of the service by placing them in envelopes and dropping them in tubs.” It’s been such a blessing, Oliver said, to see each other and wave, especially as they leave. “One sweet member, as she left last Sunday, had huge tears rolling down her cheeks and was waving to all. I’m sure when we do get back to a more normal time of worship, church will be so much more special — and will never ever be taken for granted. I said I’ll probably run to the altar as soon as I walk in. I won’t need an invitation from the pastor. It’ll be a great time of thankfulness, no doubt. Special, special time that’ll be, but we will never forget worshipping in the parking lot.”
According to Laura Weant, Pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Boone, March 8 was the last time services were held in the building. “Later that week, the church council made the difficult decision to follow the advice of our local, regional and national experts, as well as the recommendations from our bishop, and suspend all in-person gatherings in the church building,” At first, Weant said, it was just for two weeks, but has since been extended through May 12. “That first decision came on a Friday night, so for our first Sunday, and the next few to follow, I put together a shortened version of our normal liturgical worship with prayers, scripture readings, songs, videos for the kids, and an audio recording of my sermon,” she described. “I called it ‘Worship at Home,’ and asked everyone who could, to participate in their own homes on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. I emailed out the information, and made print versions to mail to our folks without Internet.” The response has been incredible, Weant described. “Pretty much as many people responded that they participated in ‘Worship at Home’ as typically come to worship in the building — and we’ve had a few extras, too, as our church folks have shared with others.” Recently, Bethany’s church family has also started doing some live video worship on the Zoom platform, in addition to a Fellowship and Prayer Meeting on Zoom. “It was great to see faces and check up on everyone. This congregation really is like family, and we’re all missing each other right now.”
In addition to worship, the church has participated in coordinating and distributing food boxes to families in need in the Green Valley Community, in partnership with all the Green Valley churches, and the teachers and staff at Green Valley School. “This has been a collaborative effort, and we’re all pleased with how we’ve been able to execute these food box deliveries during this time of social distancing,” Weant said. “ I’ve also asked congregation members to check in on each other. I’m calling it a “3-a-Week” ministry. I’m asking anyone who wants to participate to open up the church directory to any page and pick three different people each week to call — just to catch up and check in, and also to see if they have any needs.” Some of Bethany’s members have also been busy making face masks and headbands for hospital employees, nursing home employCrossnore Presbyterian ees and others in the community. “We are doing our best to stay engaged with our prayer life, with each other, and with the world God calls us to serve during this time that can feel very isolating,” Weant surmised. “I have never been more thankful for modern technology! The really beautiful thing about this time is how we — not only as a community, but as a nation, and even all across the world — are pulling together to put others first. We are inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of the most vulnerable, those deemed essential employees, and our healthcare workers. It is doing what St. Paul called thinking of others more highly than yourself, having the same mind as Christ (Philippians 2). It actually gives me a lot of hope.” ◆
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Boone United Methodist Church
Boone UMC’s vision of ‘Becoming deeply transformed disciples who live for the transformation of hearts, the Church, our community, and the world’ guides this church’s ministry. 12
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Discovering Life Together
at Boone UMC Story by Joe Johnson Photography by Tara Diamond
oone United Methodist Church began its journey in the High Country in the year 1866, as Boone Methodist Episcopal Church South, when its members began congregating in the Watauga County Courthouse. In 1877, as more people joined the congregation, a â€œbarn-likeâ€? building was constructed on West King Street for the church. Continued growth in the size of the congregation resulting in the need for the 247-member congregation to move into a new site for the church, purchased in 1918 at what is now 341 East King Street. For the next 63 years, the congregation grew its ministry on King Street until, in 1981, tragedy struck the 700-member church when a tar pot being used for church roof repairs exploded, causing a fire that destroyed the church sanctuary. The congregation immediately sprang into action and construction on a new building began in 1982 on the same King Street site. By 1984, the new edifice was completed at the cost of $1.2 million, a debt which
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was paid off by the church location’s fire. Six of the within seven years. stained glass windows in The congregation prothe sanctuary came from ceeded to grow rapidly the original 1923 church. between 1984 and 1992, The horizontal windows which eventually caused along the top of the sancthe church to relocate in tuary were new to the 2000 to its current location rebuilt church building on 471 New Market Bouleon King Street, following vard. the fire. Several fleur de By the time the new falis adorning the top edge cility was completed and of the chancel are from equipped for the ministry, the old church. The bapthe overall cost of Boone tismal font at the front of UMC’s relocation was over the sanctuary was saved $8 million, money spent from the fire and has broadening the church facilscorch marks to prove it. ities, as well as the church’s The communion rail capabilities to serve the from a previous church community, at large. The building was fashioned structure offers over 40,000 into prayer rails that Lory Beth Huffman square feet of education adorn the front of the Lory Beth Huffman, Senior Pastor, leads worship and recreation space used sanctuary. Boone UMC’s for various community or long journey in the High during Boone UMC’s two Sanctuary services, church-oriented activities. Country is chronicled at 8:45 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. This location serves as the throughout the church famain hub for all of the ministries and services that the church cilities through various reminders, including the following: has to offer the community. The building may be new, but the mission statement and orThe current Boone UMC church facilities include many ganization are as welcoming as they have always been. pieces of the church’s history not destroyed in the original A hiking trail leading toward Howard’s Knob was recent-
Kelly Broman-Fulks, Director of Communications - Colette Krontz, Director of Children’s Ministry - Vern Collins, Pastor of Discipleship - Jeff McClain, Pastor of Congregational Care - Patti Connelly, Pastor of Adult Ministries Lory Beth Huffman, Senior Pastor - Laura Beach Byrch, Pastor of Community Engagement 14
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The Praise & Worship service at 8:45 a.m., combines elements from both contemporary and traditional worship. ly built on church property by members of the congregation owners expressed a desire for the land to be open to the with passions for trail building and hiking; they got together community in a greater way. That was the vision actually; every Tuesday night with App State students to work on the these trail makers were fulfilling that goal set by the previous landowners. I think that’s another great, unique example of trail construction. The trail begins near the back parking lot of the church how the church has opened itself up to the community.” Boone UMC strives and is the closest trailto provide particularly head to downtown helpful ministries and Boone, featuring a picservices, not only to nic shelter and a cabin its congregation, but built and used by local to the community, as Boy Scout troops. a whole. While some “The trail was not ministries and services contracted out with a may be available only company. It was conto members of the structed by the hearts church, many of the and hands of people who wanted to build an programs it offers are outdoor trail that could structured to aid anybe open to the church one who might need as well as the commuhelp in the community. nity as a whole,” said The sizeable congregaKelly Broman-Fulks, tion of 1,590 members Director of Commuallows BUMC to have Jeff McClain a significantly wide nications for Boone community outreach. UMC, who added: Among the min“When the church pur- Jeff McClain, Pastor of Congregational Care, greets guests and leads times of prayer for the people. istries open to anyone chased the land, the FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
The praise band leads worshipful music during the 8:45 a.m. service The congregation sings worship music adapted from traditional hymns, as well as from popular Christian songwriters. Contemporary music is performed by the praise band. A sign language interpreter makes worship music more accessible to people who benefit from signing.
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Boone United Methodist Church strives to provide particularly helpful ministries and services, not only to their congregation, but to the community as a whole. in the community are Thursday night dinners, hosted at 5:30 p.m. every week in the church’s Family Life Center. The dinners are free-of-charge. “They attract a few church members, community members and people from Hospitality House. it’s a time when everybody can come together and sit down at the table together,” said Broman-Fulks. “I think that’s a beautiful example of really where this church finds its identity. We do have people who regularly come to the dinner who aren’t part of the church. It’s a great opportunity to open our doors.” Another Boone UMC ministry offering regular aid to community members is the firewood ministry, part of the church’s community missions team. All throughout the winter, wood is donated to the congregation from various sources, such as trees felled by tree clearing services or nearby homeowners who request the church to pick up wood from a tree they cut down themselves. Volunteers from various organizations associated with Appalachian State University then help split the donated wood, which is distributed to community members who are either supplementing their heat or totally existing off firewood for heat in the wintertime. The recipient may have to choose between groceries, medicine or heat costs during the wintertime. This firewood ministry aims to help ease the burden of these folks having to compromise on essentials during the cold weather months. Quilts, blankets and lap robes are also provided to community members through this ministry, although the main focus of the ministry is the firewood. Over 113 pickup loads of firewood have been distributed to the local community since September, with the ministry ending its efforts at the
Music and light fill the rafters of Boone UMC beginning of April when the weather is steadily warmer. “We’re grateful for the Lord providing resources for us and directing us to take it out to the community,” said ministry spokesman Fred Fonville. “It’s always a blessing when we go out and meet folks and know that we can spread the gospel to them. It’s always a blessing for us to go and meet new families and see what their needs are, and we have actually attracted folks to come to church through this ministry, which is marvelous! It’s wonderful to have the students out here; the App Wesley group over there, the RUF, which is an independent group, and we have an Eagle Scout fraternity that helps us, as well. They have a real friendly competition when they come out and split with us. ‘My pile is bigger than yours!’ We have young men and women to come out, it’s open to everyone. We give a little basic instruction if they have never split wood before; otherwise, we just watch them to let them be safe and have fun.” Boone UMC also regularly hosts successful fundraisers, such as the Attic, Basement, and Closet sale on Memorial day weekend, and the Fall Bazaar in September. The Attic, Basement and Closet sale is likened to a miniature version of the fall bazaar; both events feature a large-scale yard sale throughout the church building with profits from the fundraiser benefiting Boone UMC
Praise Band singer Melissa Strickland lends powerful vocals to musical worship. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Colette Krontz, Director of Children’s Ministry, guides children through a message about what the pastor soon will preach. Boone UMC’s Children’s Ministry offers various age appropriate opportunities for learning and worship. missions and a portion toward debt reduction. “During the Fall Bazaar, every single room of this church gets taken up with yard sale items; it’s huge,” said Broman-Fulks, “This past year, we made about $55,000 during the Fall Bazaar; that money goes back into missions, both in the High Country and abroad. A lot of funny stories revolve around the
Church Streaming Service Boone UMC streamed its first live service on March 15, three days after getting word from the denomination’s district Bishop that in-person worship services would be suspended due to COVID-19. Since that time, the congregation has gathered online with Sunday services available live at 11:00 a.m., on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Services can also be accessed at booneumc.org/ worship-with-us. **During the suspension of inperson worship services, all worship opportunities moved to a single service at 11:00 a.m. 18
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fundraisers. Someone will buy something they absolutely love and find out their friend donated it!” Boone UMC’s other services and ministries that fulfill a particular need for the community include a garden gleaning service for local food pantries, and a diaper drive that brings in much-needed donations of diapers.
Boone UMC’s Chancel Choir, led by Dana Davis, Director of Worship & the Arts, provides traditional musical worship accompanied by the High Country’s largest pipe organ, piano, and other instrumentation. The garden gleaning ministry is focused on providing food pantries with some of the hardest-to-get and most sought-after foods: fresh, local produce. Volunteers from Boone UMC help meet this need by gleaning at the Watauga Farmer’s Market from May through October each year, collecting leftover produce at the end of the day to be given to local food pantries. While food pantries often have a hefty supply of staples, such as canned food and other nonperishables, the garden gleaning ministry allows the pantries to also have a supply of healthy, fresh ingredients. The diaper drive also fulfills a specific need that community members face; diaper costs add up quickly, and the donations that make up the “diaper wall” at the church are given to local parents who otherwise may not be able to provide diapers for their children. Boone UMC prides itself on opening its doors to the community, whether those who enter are members of the congregation or not.
In addition to the Boone United Methodist Church Preschool that operated from the church building, Grace Academy has leased space at the church Monday- Friday for several years. Even though Grace Academy is not associated with the church, Boone UMC has welcomed the school with open arms. “Between those two schools, there are about 220 students here,” said Broman-Fulks, “The relationship with Grace Academy is something the church has really valued over the years.” Boone UMC is one of several rural communities across the state to host a Summer Literacy Program for rising first graders, which is funded by the Duke Endowment. The students meet with instructors for six weeks, with three hours of reading instruction each day and different enrichment activities in the afternoon. Students are recommended by their teachers for this literacy program. “This past summer was the first summer we offered that program,” said Broman-Fulks, “We were really excited to FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Crossroads worship service, which meets Sunday mornings at 10:55 a.m., draws families and individuals of all ages. host it; we feel like it is a great opportunity to use this facility for something that can really make a difference in the lives of children.” Boone UMC is an organization that fosters interest in the arts, as well; members of all ages are encouraged to pursue their artistic passions within the church community. A fine arts camp is held at Boone UMC the third week of July during the morning hours. It is open to everyone in the community at no charge. Students explore artistic passions, whether it is musical, physical artwork or any other kind of art. The Fine Arts Series at Boone United Methodist began in 2017 as an intriguing way to reach the community through the arts. It is not all music or dance, but an amalgamation of various performances and art styles. This past year’s series featured The Country Biscuit Jamboree on October 20, during which The Oaks Boys presented an afternoon of fun and devotion in a country music style. The series also included 20
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Crossroads is led by Pastor Vern Collins, who first began as Boone UMC’s Youth Pastor in 1998
Spirit-filled, contemporary music is led by Worship Leader, Ben Fitzgerald
a performance by renowned ballet troupe Ballet Magnificat! On February 9. The group performed one of its most popular and longesttouring ballets, “Deliver Us!” Set to the music of Dreamworks’ ‘The Prince of Egypt,’ this riveting story jumps off the stage and into your life! Boone UMC and its staff have designed their worship experiences to be a meeting place with God. The church offers a variety of worship options catered toward those who enjoy worshipping in the traditional fashion, as well as different options for those who may not want to worship within a church sanctuary or with the same kind of structure. Boone UMC hosts several worship services at different times, each with a different style of worship experience; some services even extend past the walls of the church building into the Town of Boone. The 8:45 a.m. “Praise and Worship” service in the Sanctuary features an excellent praise band, plus the best of both contemporary and traditional forms of worship.
“Initially, the Crossroads service was intended to draw in collegeaged, young folks, but it also draws in families and older congregation members as well,” Drums and guitar are featured in this upbeat style of praise. In addition, a children’s worship opportunity is available for ages 3 through 1st grade. Nursery and childcare is also available for children up to 2 years of age. The 11 a.m. “traditional” service in the sanctuary features what many consider the best pipe organ and choral music in the area; this service is catered more toward churchgoers who prefer to worship in the traditional way that emphasizes liturgy and readings. The 10:55 a.m. Crossroads service is a free-flowing, multisensory gathering in the Family Life Center, where Vern Collins preaches a powerful message. “Initially, the Crossroads service was intended to draw in college-aged, young folks, but it also draws in families and older congregation members, as well,” said Broman-Fulks, “This makes for a diverse congregation of all ages in the Family Life Center on Sunday mornings.” Every Sunday morning at 11 a.m., churchgoers gather at Blackburn’s Chapel in Todd, with Pastor Ben Floyd to praise and worship God in a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere. Outside of church walls, King’s Street Church is a campus of Boone United Methodist Church that is committed to offering Christian community to those who may have never experienced it before. KSC members believe that faith is born in the midst of a re-
Families with children of all ages worship together at Crossroads.
A group prayer is offered over a family before their cross-country move FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
A High Country family associated for many years with Boone UMC is celebrated before they move to the West coast.
The Crossroads worship team offers their talents to lead the congregation in contemporary-style musical praise. 22
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Vern Collins Pastor Vern Collins preaches from Scripture each week during the Crossroads service, which meets in the Family Life Center. lationship, which is why they prefer to meet in small worshipping communities at various locations around town, studying the Bible together and applying its teachings to everyday life. Attendees are encouraged to be free in their doubt, questions, and disagreements regarding their faith. “King’s Street Church brings in the kind of person who may not want to step foot in a church to worship God,” said BromanFulks, “They might gather in Boone Saloon or in a local coffee shop, using poetry, song and scripture to find each other where
Singer Sarah Pinnix offers her vocals to the moving musical worship of Crossroads
The Scott family thanks the Crossroads worship community for their support as they prepare to move from the High Country. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Firewood Ministry Helps Keep The Community Warm Fred Fonville, a member of Boone UMC, leads the Firewood Ministry, which meets weekly during colder months to chop and deliver bundles of firewood to High Country residents who struggle to stay warm.
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“Loving our community and inviting all to discover life in Christ.” they are in their own faith journey.” Boone United Methodist Church and its staff are passionate about upholding their mission statement each day: “Loving our community and inviting all to discover life in Christ.” No matter who you are or what your current beliefs may be, Boone UMC, its pastors, ministers, and staff welcome you with open arms during your personal faith walk and journey through life. The Methodist denomination is the last mainline Protestant denomination to take on the topic of human sexuality in terms of internal governance. The United Methodist Church is a global denomination with congregations in Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as North America; it is difficult to get people on the same page in the United States, but to get people on the same page globally is quite the undertaking. United Methodist Church will be holding a general conference in the near future to discuss these matters internally as a denomination. “Whatever happens denominationally does not change our mission and vision,” said Lory Beth Huffman, Senior Pastor at Boone United Methodist Church, “We, as a church, are committed to that, even though we have a multitude of perspectives; we’re okay with that and we’re focused on our mission and vision as the main thing. The denominational conversation is not defining who we are, we’re defining who we are. Whatever happens in the general conference, this is a church that loves this community and wants to fulfill our mission statement of loving the community and inviting all to discover life in Christ.” Boone United Methodist Church upholds the values of community that have made it a strong local organization since its initial beginnings as a congregation of a couple dozen people meeting in the Watauga County Courthouse during the mid19th century. As the church has developed and grown to become a large congregation of welcoming churchgoers, volunteers, and staff, Boone United Methodist Church has remained committed to missions and outreach programs that benefit the local community. Boone UMC always welcomes you to join them in your journey through faith. ◆
The trailhead for Boone United Trail, a 2.5-mile loop that offers downtown Boone’s closest public hiking, is located in the rear parking lot of Boone UMC and winds up Howard’s Knob through property of the church. Near the trailhead is a picnic shelter used by groups of the church and of the High Country community.
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Dipper Garrison By Jan Todd
have seen him on the street corner in Boone near Wendy’s intersection. He’s the big man holding a big sign with a big message. Yep, that’s Floyd Garrison, better known to most simply as “Dipper.” Come rain, sleet, snow or shine, for about an hour every Saturday — for the last 25 years — Garrison has claimed his spot on the corner with a simple, yet profound goal: To tell as many people as he can about being a bondservant of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.
Photo by Tara Diamond 26
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Photo by Tara Diamond
The “Book of Dip”... Autobiography of Floyd “Dipper” Garrison
Shows How God Can Change A Man, A Marriage and More
By Sherrie Norris
ome people have called him crazy. Some have just stared at him in amazement and wonder. Some have brushed him off, thinking little or nothing about him as they passed through town. But, some have had life-changing experiences because he, one man, takes a stand for what he believes. One of those people, Garrision said, he will never forget. “This lady came up to me in tears, telling me that she had been contemplating suicide as she drove by McDonalds, and then she saw me there at the corner turn around with that sign that said ‘Jesus Loves You.’” And, the strange thing about it all is — Garrison knew just exactly where that woman was coming from, he said. As the saying goes, he’s been there — and (almost) done that. .
“The Book of Dip” Tells The Story Garrison has lived an interesting life, to say the least, and one that has been, up until 2015, documented in “The Book of Dip: How God Can Change a Man, a Marriage, and More.” The autobiography, a simple little paperback, contains a powerful, riveting life story in its 138 short pages. For the price of $10.95, plus shipping, and a quick delivery from Amazon, one might find him or herself glued to their latest
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A ride on his cycle before a horrific head-on collision that nearly claimed the life of Dipper Garrison.
Following a tumultuous college experience, Floyd “Dipper” Garrison graduated from Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone.
The happy couple on their wedding day with family members, including Dipper’s brother, Raymon, far right.
Dipper and his two sons, Aaron and Adam, enjoying an afternoon out exploring nature together. 28
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purchase, way into the wee hours. (Yes, it has happened to several just like that — this writer included!) “I tell everyone who gets that book that it comes with a money-back guarantee,” Garrison said. “But, no one has asked for their money back, so far.” Garrison prepares us in his introduction, but few can comprehend what he meant when he wrote it: “Oh! what a life it’s been. Hold on tight, and let me tell you a story.” He said later that it’s something that only God could write. “I couldn’t have done it on my own.” Garrison is self-described as a man who has been up, down and everywhere in between. From day one, his existence has been one of note, he said — near-death experiences, a mother’s tragic death;
a promising basketball career dashed by a devastating motorcycle accident, empires built and fortunes made, a rocky marriage repaired miraculously by faith and commitment. It’s quite the story, and as has been said about it: “Fiction should be so rich.” In “The Book of Dip” you might just be inspired, enriched, and amazed, as you discover how God can truly change lives and circumstances. In writing the book’s foreword, Franklin Graham, President and CED of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “If you want to read a one-of-akind story, ‘The Book of Dip’ is a good pick. “Not many New Jersey boys could transplant to Boone, NC and make a mark like Dipper did many years ago,” Graham penned. “His love for the High Country is evidenced in his personal account, but more than that is his love for people from all walks of life. He is a man who seeks opportunity for the Gospel, and barrels through every open door.” Graham continued, “His journey has been full of trials and triumphs, spattered with motorcycle and car wrecks, injuries For over 25 years, Dipper Garrison has stood his ground around Boone as a follower of Christ. and near-death experiences. Through it all, he has lived to tell how a broken life can be stitched together by the miraculous and intervening hand of the miracle-working God of Heaven.” Whether negotiating a business deal or building personal friendships, Dipper is driven to testify about what the Lord Jesus will do for anyone who will repent and receive Christ as personal Savior, Graham continued. “While Dipper is nicknamed for his incredible ability to ‘dip’ a basketball into the net, Floyd Garrison’s real story is that he dipped his heart into the saving blood of Jesus Christ. His outspoken testimony for what God has done with a life that started out difficult will tenderize hardened hearts and lead them to the One who is “clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God, (Revelation 19:13.) Every life matters to him.” About Graham, Garrison said, “I am so blessed to be able to call him my friend. He’s been there for me. Anytime someone asks what they can do for me, I tell them to make a donation to Samaritan’s Purse. That’s where it can do the most good.” Former App State Mountaineer’s head coach Jerry Moore had this to say about Garrison and his book: “What an amazing journey of how God moves in our lives! Here, Dipper pulls back the curtains of his life to share the good, the bad and his uncertainty. Dipper and Charlotte Garrison in recent years. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Dipper has spent many a Saturday at the Wendy’s intersection that has also gone through many changes over the years. Probably the busiest intersection in the High Country, that adds up to a lot cars that have passed by the man on the corner with the “Jesus Loves You” sign.
He shares the disappointments of his young life as an athlete, and moves into the successful ventures of his life and marriage — a love story in itself! Foremost, he shares the boldness of his Christian, spiritual walk.” Yes, it is all true of Garrison, as most who know him will agree. So, what else is it about this man behind the book that captivates our interests and curiosities, you might ask? Well, to begin with, there’s nothing miniscule about the story of Dipper Garrison. How could there be? He currently stands about 6’6,” weighs 200 pounds and wears a size 18 shoe – with a heart as big as the sky and a faith as deep as the ocean. (He once weighed 230 and stood at 6’11”). It is Garrison’s hope that people will read his story — and he feels pretty certain that if a reader doesn’t believe in God, and/or that God performs mirDipper Garrison draws attention to his signs, and often uses whatever help he can get to get his message across. 30
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Photo by Tara Diamond No matter the weather, Dipper Garrison shares his powerful message to those passing through Boone.
acles, that notion will soon change after reading the book. “He (God) is the only reason I’m alive to write this book,” Garrison wrote in his introduction, referring to the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11, which says. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for you welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Garrison said his story is recounted to the best of his ability — “And as close to the facts as I can remember – for things that happened over 70 years ago!” He added that it is certainly not fiction, but the true account of what can happen because of the prayers of a loving, Godly mother, and others who intervened throughout his young life so that he could have abundant life, something for which he is “eternally grateful,” he emphasized. Garrison’s prayer is that his story will affect many people and show how God clearly moves in a person’s life. At the same time, he added, “If anything in this book sounds like I am boasting or bragging, I pray that you will understand that my story is all about the Lord and what he did. It’s not about my accomplishments. I’m like Paul Anderson, (the strongest and most humble man in the world) unable to pick up a penny without God’s help. I love his story. And you need to remember these words of wisdom: ‘Coincidence is spelled G-O-D.’” Writing his book, Garrison said, had been on his bucket list for several years, but more than that, he wrote it in response to a promise he made to himself and to God. “I tried
to write it for about five years,’ he said. “But, as usual, I hadn’t been able to slow down long enough to do it, despite it being a really big part of my life.” He started writing on January 1, 2015 with the help of his son, Aaron. At that time, he said, he had just recently gotten caught up on his mail —after being two years behind! “It seems I’ve been going full-throttle, non-stop, my whole life.”
Truth, Stranger than Fiction The life of Floyd Garrision began on November 24, 1944 in Bridgeton, NJ when he was born the son of an Army sergeant who was oversees during the war. “I didn’t see him for the first part of my life. That’s probably why I was a mama’s boy until I was 11.” He remembers his mother (who grew up on a farm) as a tall “tomboy” who was pretty and funny, loved music, could shoot a gun like Annie Oakley, played sports, was a great cook, loved God, her family and animals. His dad, he recalled, was a good man, a hard worker who kept his word and would never lie, steal or cheat. But unlike his wife, Garrison recalled, “He never knew the Lord and probably didn’t know how to be a father. He spent a lot of time going to the racetrack, the American Legion, playing poker and loving his wife.” He does have good memories of his paternal grandparents, a unique couple, and spending time on their farm. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
quarter for a drink of tea!” Soon afterward, he turned 11 and along came his little brother, Raymon. “I tell people to this day, that even though we were born 10 years apart, we are twins.” The two brothers have enjoyed a very close and loving relationship through the years, which endures today. Garrision’s world crashed early in life with the unexpected death of his mother. She had been hospitalized for five months — and he never had the chance to say good-bye. It was much later that he learned about the cancer that claimed her, which caused her terrible pain in the end. When he saw her at the funeral, he recalled, it was one of the worst and hardest days of his life. Her death impacted the rest of his life in more ways than one. His father basically shut down, had to sell their home, moved the boys into a trailer, hired a caretaker who did her best to provide them with a safe homelike atmosphere. His dad finally “came back to life,” Garrison said. Eventually, he remarried a nice lady named Eleanor, a “Godsend,” he described. From there, life took interesting turns for Garrison, one right after another, and some in unbelievable succession. Sports became his outlet – and especially basketball. He had no trouble “dunking” the ball, and in his final year of high school, he was already 6’7” and wore a size 18 shoe. Schools were looking at him and he was offered scholarships – even one in North Carolina, but he chose to stay closer to home, for the time being. But what should’ve been a career pathway ended in not his first near-death experience, but certainly one that changed everything. Photo by Tara Diamond “When I saw the movie Ma and Pa Kettle, I thought it was about them. . .” He doesn’t have much else to say about his childhood. He went to school and worked — “The one consistent thing in my life was work.” At age 5, he made five cents an hour picking berries from his neighbor’s strawberry patch. At age 6, he was selling strawberries from his own stand, started working in the fields of other farmers and sold newspapers. “I liked making money,” he said. He worked for a “hard-nosed” farmer when he was about 10, “a Christian,” he described,” but a tough man to work for.” “The one good thing that came from that job was going to a Billy Graham crusade with him and his family at the end of the summer in 1956,” Garrison recalled. “I had gone to church with my mom, but I don’t remember hearing the gospel message until that night in Philly. It was, I believe, like God planted a seed in me then. I’ll never forget seeing all those people going forward. And, I’ll always been grateful to that farmer, even if he was a hard man who charged me a 32
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Learning about Boone, Living In “The Hole”
Ironically, it was a football coach who eventually told Garrison about Boone, North Carolina, and encouraged him to apply at Appalachian State Teacher’s College. And so it was, Garrison arrived in “a sleepy little mountain town,” but before he started to school in Boone, he met the woman he would marry — back in Jersey. It wasn’t a fairy tale love story by any means, to begin with, anyway. Garrison’s life continued to take many twists and turns, literally and figuratively, before he and yes, his wife, Charlotte, actually ended up in Boone to live as a couple. Before they were married, Garrison was homeless during his first winter in Boone as a college student, lived in a “hole” at the stadium, was frozen so badly at one time that he couldn’t walk, but crawled to the gym for a warm shower, and survived from food given out by a local church. Nearing a complete breakdown, he was amazingly able to finish his semester and pass his exams. But it was all taking a toll on him. Physically and mentally drained, he believed he would die. But somehow, as God intervened, over and over, he sur-
Photo by Tara Diamond Dipper and Charlotte Garrison moved to Boone together after they were married, where Charlotte found a job waiting tables at the Peddler Steakhouse and Dipper filled in as a dishwasher. From those humble beginnings, Dipper became a franchisee over some of the Peddler Steakhouses across the south, including the Boone location with Murray Broome.
vived, returned to New Jersey on a bus and tried to find Charlotte — who wanted nothing to do with him. His book explains all the reasons why. He did recover, as did their relationship. And the rest is history. Space does not permit us to tell the rest of his story — nor should we. It is documented well in his book, with the help of his son …. and it is one you don’t want to miss. His unbelievable climb to the top, the plunges to the bottom, and back again, his outreach to — and compassion for — the homeless, his business ventures, both good and bad, and so much more, makes it all captivating and almost surreal. It’s all included in his book and one you need to have on your shelf. Only through the pages will you begin to understand a little more about this tall, lanky man who stands at the corner near Wendy’s on Saturdays, from noon ‘til 1 p.m., sometimes his moustache and beard freezing into ice. Only then will you be able to comprehend the never-ending supply of love the heavenly Father has for his children, and how one man refuses to forget. Only then will you understand how God can change a man, a marriage – and so much more. And, only then will you get to know most everything you may have wondered about Floyd “Dipper” Garrison.
Life After the Book Since the book was written, however, life’s challenges
have continued, but through it all, God’s hand has remained upon this gentle giant. His story would not be complete if we did not share a few more monumental – and yes, life-changing events that have transpired in the last five years. He suffered a stroke in 2015, but again, divine intervention prevailed. “I was driving down State Farm Road in Boone when something just didn’t feel right. My vision was a little blurry and I knew something was wrong. I’m never sick, the last time I had a cold was 25 years ago, but I just didn’t feel right. As I came to Dr. Hal Frazier’s parking lot, I turned in as he was coming out to get into his vehicle. I told him what was going on, and he offered to check me out. It didn’t take long before he said, “We’re going to the hospital.’ He took me in and they worked with me for two hours. He told me I was about to blow up – my blood pressure was 280/180. If I had gone on home — like I was planning on — I wouldn’t have made it. The Lord drew me into Hal’s parking lot.” Garrison paused to say that Frazier had been a special man in his life for quite a while, and as a compassionate physician, had helped him many times with some of his tenants at the motel, and had even paid the hospital bill for one of the men. “That’s just the kinda guy he was,” Garrison reflected. “He checked on me a couple days after my stroke and made me promise to take better care of myself, to get rid of some of my stress. I made that promise and stuck to it, but the one problem was — he, Hal, didn’t take care of his stress and FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
He’s been ridiculed on many occasions for his public stand on the street corners of Boone, but Dipper Garrison also knows that he’s helped change many lives.
“Even three months after he died, the lady who delivers died a couple years later. He was dealing with life and death on a daily basis, doing what he could to help others. It just our mail came to the door and told us how she missed his mail. He always stamped the words ‘You are loved,’ all over broke my heart when he died.” Next came the near-fatal fall that his brother, Raymon, money or mail. And, when he sent us mail, it was always experienced from a rooftop. “It was a miracle that he didn’t addressed to ‘My beloved parents,’ or ‘Mother’ or ‘Father,’ break his neck and become paralyzed,” Garrison said. “He was never with just our names.” The Garrisons evenbroken up pretty bad and tually received a note, even though he’s healed written on an old piece up as well as he could, of paper that said, he’s still dealing with it.” “Read me.” The mesMore recently, the sage was simple: “If death in 2019 of their you are reading this, it son, Aaron, is something means that I am either from which Dipper and dead or severely injured, Charlotte will never fully but that’s OK. I have recover. accepted whatever hap“That was just heartpens and I chose to have breaking to both of us, a joyful spirit. You don’t He was such a blessing, have to be sad for me. a great encourager — How cool! All is well and so good.” In Arizona at the time and all will be well.’ of his death, Aaron had “That,” Garrison said, Dipper Garrison has handed out countless tracts through the years to young sought medical attention, “was overwhelming. We and old alike during his Saturday intersection ministry. but his diagnosis was not miss him terribly.” fully realized until his auUp to that point, he topsy, months later. added, when dealing with others experiencing hard times in “He died from tuberculosis. We didn’t have a clue.” life, he could usually identify with them — except for those Aaron is still missed terribly and had a great impact on who had lost a child. those around him, his father recalled. “But, I can now. It’s a very painful thing,” he described. “It’s 34
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There’s only one way to heaven, and it is Dipper Garrison’s hope and prayer that many will follow his lead.
upside down – no parent should ever have to bury their child.” On the positive side — where he likes to stay — Garrison said since his stroke, he has really slowed his pace. “I finally got caught up on my mail,” he said with a chuckle. “And I get to spend more time with my lovely wife. Charlotte never got to see me much for about 30 years , and now we have a little time together. Of course, she stays busy, too, but we’re trying to enjoy life.” He still works out six days a week, continues to oversee some property, and is still reaching out to those down on their luck — whether it’s the fellow who fell behind on his rent for five years, or another one with a wife and three small children who have little to call their own. And, he’s happy for another man, he said, who he rescued from an abandoned motel that was being readied for demolition. “I thought there might still be some Gideon Bibles laying around that could be used, so I stopped by that place, and instead, found a guy living there. I took him out of there and found him a safe place to live. “ That was about 10 years ago; Garrison received a call from the man recently, telling him that his father had died and left him $1 million. “They are waiting to settle the estate. He’s 61 now and told me he was grateful that it didn’t happen earlier. If he had been given that money years ago, he would have blown it, but now he’s stable and going to buy a house with some of the money.” Garrison is not building anything new these days, he said,
unlike the years he managed his two motels, managed another 36 units and built a house every year. “I look back on those 30 years, and if you could see it through my eyes — you would know it was impossible to do what I did. The guys who I sold a motel to and some of my houses have a six-man crew and a woman listing agent. And they told me recently they didn’t know how I ever did it. The only answer to that is our Gold Almighty empowered me. It was super natural.” And, yes, he’s still standing on the corner of Hwy. 105 and 321 in Boone every Saturday. “Many people have told me how their lives have been changed by my corner ministry,” Garrison said. “It’s a small price to pay to share the gospel. Think of the cross. Standing there is the least I can do. First of all, the Lord sent me to that corner. Secondly, I don’t want any person in Boone to say they didn’t know that God loves them. The Lord called me to be a seed planter.” Garrison has been able to hand out “hundreds and hundreds” of tracts and to pray for countless people at that corner. “It’s such a gift to be able to share Jesus with so many people,” he said. “And, he added with his big smile, “Please tell people to be sure to honk their horn when they go by!” ◆
On Saturdays, drive by and give Dipper at honk at the Wendy’s Intersection from noon to 1:00
For the rest of the story, get your copy of Garrison’s book today. “The Book of Dip” is available at amazon.com FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Crossnore Presbyterian Church
100-Year-Old Church with a Storied History
Established with the help of Dr. Mary Martin Sloop and her husband, Dr. Eustace Sloop
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On A Hill Not So Far Away A Church Is Living Its Legacy Story by Sherrie Norris Photography by Tara Diamond
The site for the church was chosen in 1924 atop a hill with mostly cleared land. It was close enough to the Linville River for rocks to be transported for the building and a short walking distance to the village of Crossnore.
rossnore Presbyterian Church has stood as a beacon for more than a century, overlooking the quiet historic community that shares its name. As it towers upon the hillside in all its peaceful grandeur, the church has provided a sanctuary of sorts during its 100-plus years, somewhat of a regal structure reaching heavenward â€” and nothing like one would expect to find in such a quaint Western North Carolina neighborhood. Those of us who grew up in the shadows of the unique edifice recall much of our childhood spent walking from the heart of town onto the narrow winding road that led us to the footbridge that once stood as a connector to the massive stone structure. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Even of the high ceilings and pulpit, builder Franklin had his own ideas of how they should be built — regardless of what the people or the preacher preferred.
The craftsmanship of the talented Will Franklin has remained a gift to the Crossnore community for over 100 years.
Yes, the pioneering medical duo, Dr. Mary Martin Sloop and her husband, Dr. Eustace Sloop, not only brought modernWhile the bridge was dearly loved and fought for, it was day medicine to the area, but they also encouraged a better removed several years ago, leaving the majority of townsfolk way of life through improving opportunities for education, dismayed, but still with easy access for visitors and parishhoning skills and talents of both men and women, nurturioners along the ing home life main entrance for the famFrom the time they rode horseback into the area in 1909, the Sloops just around the ily unit, which were determined to make life better for the mountain people, and curve. primarily disOh, the memcommandeering the Presbyterian Church construction was right up couraged marories that were riages of child there on the list of their many accomplishments. made through brides and dothe years of that mestic abuse – and yes, the need for God to reign supremely. grand stone church that has meant so much to so many. It was quite the battle, especially for Mrs. Sloop, who as a Most of us natives, as youngsters, just assumed the church force with which to be reckoned, did not back down easily had always been there — and only as adolescents, perhaps, from even the fiercest of the mountain men, and fought for did we begin to really comprehend the magnitude of it all what she believed to be right. It didn’t help that making as we read the accounts of its formation and construction moonshine was one of, if not the area’s main “industries” chronicled in Dr. Mary Martin Sloop’s “Miracle in the and, as she saw it, resulted in most of the problems therein. Hills,” written with Legette Blythe. 38
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From the time they rode horseback into the area in 1909, the Sloops were determined to make life better for the mountain people, and commandeering the Presbyterian Church construction was right up there on the list of their many accomplishments. We read in Sloop’s book how, in the mid 20s, they, along with a supportive group of townsfolk, undertook the church project, something she described as “another heavy task — one that was burdensome to us, though it was also greatly rewarding.” Quite the story, in itself, Mrs. Sloop wrote about the church “a structure of which we are especially proud, and admired greatly by all, and especially by visitors who said that nowhere have they seen a more interesting and unique sanctuary.” FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
Breaking ground on July 27, 2008 for construction of the new fellowship hall were: (Back Row L-R) Ted Kidder, Douglas Franklin, Rev. McCoy Franklin, Archie McMannen, Bruce Dyak, Bill Bagby and Bob Taylor. (Front Row) Will Jordan, Cordelia Dellinger Kidder, Tommie Tennant, Madeline Broome and Mike Gragg. Cordelia Dellinger Kidder was at the first ground breaking as a young toddler in 1924.
Sloop penned, in detail, how “Uncle Will Franklin built Franklin and Sloop had had their rounds earlier, but they eventually came to a place of understanding, and most likely, respected each other, when all was said and done. “He was a carpenter and stonemason, operated a sawmill and tannery, and was quite a character,” she wrote. “I shall never forget Uncle Will.” A husband and father of 13, who could neither read nor
write, Franklin was skilled beyond the average. And while Sloop wrote that, years before, the Baptists had built a church with free lumber and free labor — “and it had done a world of good in the community”— the local Presbyterians wanted a Presbyterian Church. They had been meeting in private homes up to that point. “And after using a little three-hundred-dollar chapel for a while, and then selling it in 1926 to be made into a residence, we actually began the big rock church which now stands at
The Ten Commandments were on display behind the pulpit in the earlier years of the church. A large hand-hewn cross that is still there today later replaced the large gold-on-blue panel. 40
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“Uncle Will” Franklin was responsible for the building of the church, managing all of the rock work from the foundation up, plus framing in the vaulted ceiling - a project that began in 1924.
In 1928, a footbridge was built to facilitate safe transit across the road that became Highway 221. The footbridge remained until 1994 when the NC DOT removed it for safety reasons.
Crossnore — and will stand for many years,” she wrote. “And, the story of the church is also the story of Uncle Will.” Sloop further described Franklin as a wonderful builder and was the man chosen from the start to take on the project. “But, when we asked him to do it, he shook his head. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I’ll not do it.’” But, Sloop and her followers would not take “no” for an answer. “He was especially good in rock building, and we wanted a church made of rock, hauled out of the river.” Sloop, herself, approached Franklin and asked him to build the church. He still refused. But, they didn’t give up. “Finally, one day as he passed by my house, I called to him and I said, ‘Uncle Will, if you don’t do like I ask you, something’s going to happen to you. You’ve got a chance now to build a church, and that’s a good thing for a man to do; and you’re refusing to do it.” Franklin reminded Sloop that he was 70 years of age at the time and that if he started building a church, his children would expect him to build homes for them. For a time, no amount of fear she tried to instill in the stubborn mountain man — or any foreboding with which she threatened him — seemed to matter.
Or, so it Seemed
As a gift to her home church and community, in 2018 beloved author/ historian and minister,
Eventually, Franklin started attend- Margaret “Maggie” Palmer Lauterer compiled a compelling publication in honor of the church’s ing services in the little chapel, and the centennial celebration: “Crossnore Presbyterian Church Ministry and Mission: The First 100 Years.” persuasion for him to build the church continued. Soon, the desires and prayers of the people paid off. “It’s just amazing how a man will change his mind, sometimes,” Sloop wrote. Rock was hauled daily from the river by horse and wagon, “up a steep hill a mile or more to the site of the church,” until there was enough for the walls of the church. “And they were thick, solid walls. There is no framework for it,” she wrote. Franklin, Sloop said, would have no more than four workmen at a time, adding that he had his own peculiar way of keeping books, and generally hired boys whom he could boss. “But, no boys were On June 18, 1948 as Sunday worship services had ended, a low flying plane flew over the church. able to do the rock laying for that beau- Its pilot, Wimpy Holloway and a member of the church suddenly lost control of the plane and tiful church, and so he hired an older crashed landed in the parking lot flattening a 12-cylindar Lincoln. The pilot climbed out of the plane unhurt and began apologizing to the congregation.
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man to help him to lay design and general feelrock while the boys did ing, particularly on the the rest.” inside, that it is PresbyAnd as for his bookterian.” keeping, she said, he kept precise records of 100 Years Later each worker’s time and Having stood the test tasks, suggesting that of time, just as Sloop each be paid on his own predicted, Crossnore merit: Presbyterian Church re“This boy don’t mains a symbol of hope need but twelve and a in its community, high half cents an hour this on its hill, overlooking week; he loafed a good the peaceful valley that deal . . . This one made holds fast to a long-held fifteen cents this week, tradition of caring — inhe’s a smart boy.” And cluding the school, chaon it went. pel, weaving room, the There were many former hospital, the old challenges along the The distinctive rockwork of the church and the high-vaulted interior, with dam and other sites for way, as Franklin often the cross beams of huge pine timbers, gives the mountain church almost which the Sloops were saw things differently the appearance of a cathedral. responsible. than others, and someIn 2018, as a gift to times his vision for the church was in disagreement to the blueprints that had been her church and hometown, beloved author/historian and minister, Margaret “Maggie” Palmer Lauterer compiled a drawn. Eventually, each challenge was met, and when the church compelling publication in honor of the church’s centennial was completed, Sloop wrote, “It is a beautiful one. And it celebration. “Crossnore Presbyterian Church Ministry and Mission: was built according to Uncle Will’s ideas, for none of the rest The First 100 Years,” is described as an informal history, but of us could conceive of the beauty of that structure.” Even of the high ceilings and pulpit, she penned, Franklin is a captivating read in and of itself. Lauterer captures “the big picture” from the church’s had his own ideas of how they should be built — regardless of what the people or the preacher preferred. Franklin often early documented history, through personal memories and those of some of the church’s longest serving members and walked off the job in defiance. And, that is just a small glimpse into the intricate and others who have made the church their home base. She chronicles the Sloop family story and how the couple unique design and concame to the mountains struction found within on a mission — and that the church still today. even before there was Through the years, a church, there was a Sloop said, and others community. She shares have since concurred, how other families in time after time, many the area contributed have considered the greatly to the success church to be ‘a piece of of the church, not only real art.’ in those early years, but “In fact,” she wrote, also up to the centen‘we think the entire nial celebration. building, inside and out, She paints a vivid is distinctive. The handpicture of life in Crosssome rockwork always nore, with the church, draws the compliments the school, the dam, and of visitors, and the highso many of the Sloops’ vaulted interior, with accomplishments, as the cross beams of huge well as those of other pine timbers, gives our families, little mountain church Will Franklin had never seen a vaulted ceiling before when it came time to pioneering serving as the backdrop almost the appearance of install the roof, but once he was shown one, he went to work felling to her story. a cathedral. The church trees for the ceiling and roof framing. He used bark from chestnut She allows us, as is more Episcopalian in trees for the space between the rafters 42
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readers, to share the journey from those early days, to learn information lost in a home fire of a previous church clerk. so much about the historic church and its journey through But, thankfully, Lauterer, along with the assistance of sevtime, and to enjoy a glimpse into more recent events, regard- eral others, was able to retrieve the information needed for ing church growth, expansions and additions, leadership, the publication. programs, profiles and memorials. She acknowledges the help of her husband, Zack Allen, The fact that Crossnore Presbyterian Church was ap- as well as the church’s centennial committee, church officers proved for inclusion in the National Register of Historic and members, and especially senior member, Rachel Deal, Places is of great importance, and Jessica Caudle, graduate of and well noted therein. the Appalachian State UniversiLauterer is to be comty master’s program of history, mended for sharing her talent for their assistance. and the extensive research and “It is this book’s goal to give countless hours she dedicated the reader a glimpse of how a to this book, a keepsake for few people made a huge difthose of us who love Crossnore ference in a remote mountain Margaret “Maggie” Palmer Lauterer — and for those whose lives community,” she said. and families have been such vital parts of Crossnore Presby“This means more than just exploring remaining church terian Church. records; it means researching the impact made by a small In her author’s note, Lauterer shared, “Setting out to cloud of witnesses on the community and the world. It is our write a history of the first 100 years of the Crossnore Pres- goal to put flesh and blood onto bare bones as we explore byterian Church seemed such a reasonable task – at first. My the lives and deeds of those servant hearts, some now gone family has been a part of the church since its beginnings be- and others who continue to witness and serve. Thanks be to fore 1918.” God.” Rachel Deal, at 90, is still actively involved in the church. She shares how even her efforts to compile the history were not without challenge, mainly due to vital records and other She became a member at the age of 7, on the heels of her two
“It is this book’s goal to give the reader a glimpse of how a few people made a huge difference in a remote mountain community”
In 1987 the windows from the church were removed and the frames were replaced. Then the window colors were restored by three members of the church, Emily Speer, Peggy Hardy Hufnagel and Ted Kidder. The re-coloration of the windows would take till the early 2000s to finish up. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
older sisters who “helped turn the Current Mission Projects of dirt” when ground was broken for its construction. Crossnore Presbyterian Church “This has always been my home church, even though I was gone for • Helping to fund tutors for students at Crossnore Elementary School over 15 years and lived in Char• Providing scholarships to keep Guatemalan students in school past the third grade through our lotte,” Deal said. Guatemala Presbyterian Partnership Since returning to Crossnore, • Funding Military BibleSticks (MP3 players) for active duty service men and women Deal, a church elder for 50 years • Providing funds for children’s clothing at Crossnore School now, has actively played an integral role in the church, and especially • Volunteering weekly at Feeding Avery Families in the women’s ministry and the • Our Knitting Group knits beautiful hats and scarves for the Hospitality House in Boone choir. As an outreach, “ I am still • Providing a scholarship for the New Opportunity School for Women doing my thing on Sunday after• Helping to fund the salary of the chaplain at the Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution noons,” she shared — singing to • Providing Thanksgiving baskets and grocery cards to over 30 people in need in our county the residents at Life Care Center of • Our Christmas Eve Offering goes to Volunteer Avery for emergency heating oil for the elderly Banner Elk and taking them cookies. • We collect monthly groceries for people and pets and support Volunteer Avery and Reaching She has been visiting the nursAvery Ministry with monthly financial donations that are used for emergency needs. ing home for 38 years, and has also • Many of our members individually volunteer in organizations across the county had her fingertip on the pulse of “almost everything that has been going on in Avery County.” A strong advocate for her fel• Sunday School at 10:15 a.m., Worship at 11 a.m., Coffee Fellowship at 12 p.m. lowman, as well as her furry friends, • Wednesday Bible Study, 3- 4:30 p.m. Deal still attends most church and • Wednesday Choir Practice, 5- 6:30 p.m. community functions, including • Friday Hands-On Service Project at Feeding Avery Families the Avery County Commissioners • Weekly Knitting Group meets in the summer and fall on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. meetings. “And, I still speak up if • Bi-Weekly Prayer Group I need to – and they hear what I have to say.” • Monthly Women’s Group and Men’s Breakfast Her love for her church and • Monthly Potluck Luncheon community goes “way back,” Deal • Summer Docents who give church tours on Fridays and Saturdays said, recalling events of her child• Special Summer Speaker and Music Series hood and how her “Aunt Mary,” (Sloop) impressed her, even then. “I remember she would get up for my niece, Margaret, (Maggie) for the book she wrote to in front of the church with all those kids from the school and commemorate our 100th anniversary. She did a real good have them quote scripture.” job on that book. And, we still have some available to sell, if Deal’s parents, were a big part of the church, from its anyone is interested.” humble beginning, she said — becoming the 18th and 19th members of the church when it first started. From the Church Pastor, Kathy Campbell “My mother, Lena, had come from the piedmont to the mountains to help with Uncle Doctor’s children — Dr. Sloop Kathy Campbell is honored, she said, to serve as pastor was her brother,” she explained. “Mama had been married of the historic church — and, as the church’s first female to a Presbyterian minister who died with pneumonia, leav- pastor, at that. ing her with their little girl, my sister, Annie Laura, who was The Rev. Campbell has served at Crossnore Presbyte7 when they moved up here. Mama met my daddy, Theron rian Church since 2009 and loves being pastor of a small Dellinger, one summer, and married him the next.” church. The memories are vivid, Deal recalled. “I remember hearBefore coming to Crossnore, she served in campus minising all the stories and I still love them to this day. My daddy try at six colleges/universities in North Carolina and Virginwas Sunday school superintendent for about 25 years at the ia, including 12 years as the chaplain of Lees McRae College church and led all the music.” in Banner Elk. A lot of things have happened through time, Deal shared, A native of Omaha, Nebraska, she received her bachelors’ “But it has stood strong through the years and we are taking degree in history and political science from Warren Wilson care of it. Our pastor, Kathy Campbell, has been with us for College and her masters of divinity degree from the Divinity almost 12 years now and is doing a great job. We have good School of Duke University. elders and we’re all still working together. We are grateful Rev. Campbell is married to Dr. Karl Campbell, Associ-
Current Programs and Activities
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Construction of the new fellowship hall on the west side of the church began in 2008 and was dedicated on June 14, 2009. The new addition could seat 125 people and is used in the wintertime for services. The addition also had room for a commercial size kitchen space. ate Professor of History at Appalachian State University, where he has taught in the history department for 23 years. Their daughter, Joanna Campbell, is a graduate student at Duke University, currently working on her doctorate in chemistry. “I am honored to be the pastor of such a unique congregation in such a beautiful church,” said Campbell. “The Crossnore Presbyterian Church family consists of about 100 members and 100 friends.” She explained that some of the folks who attend the church are “affiliate members,” meaning that they also belong to another church where they live for part of the year. “Some grew up in these mountains, while others are new arrivals; some live here all year, while others are only with us for a few months. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
and bring between 60 to We are a year-round church 100 people to each event. with full-timers, weekenders On some Tuesday eveand snowbirds.” She described the church nings, Dr. Karl Campbell as “a Christian community lectures on exciting topics where everyone is truly welof North Carolina History. comed, which means we Other nights, Rev. Margahave a diverse congregation. ret Lauterer might be tellWherever you are from, ing stories about growing whatever your background, up in Crossnore or singing you are invited to become some old mountain tunes part of the church family.” with her husband, Zack. She added: “We treat one Last summer, Bobby Tayanother with respect and lor and his jazz band prekindness and give ourselves sented a night rememberpermission ‘to agree to dising the life and music of agree’ with one another on Johnny Mercer. We are issues that don’t need to beginning to make plans divide us. Honestly, this is for another exciting series the kindest and most generthis summer.” ous congregation that I have Campbell said, as the known. “ church goes forward into One of the unique aspects the future, “We believe about Crossnore Presbyteriwe are called to be good an Church, Campbell points stewards of the abundant out, is that the church has resources God has given two very distinct seasons of us. We want to welcome congregational life. people into our church “When our summer/ family and engage them fall congregation gathers, in Christian ministry and our church is full and our service. We are committed schedule is very busy,” she to preserving our beautiKathy Campbell is honored, she said, to serve as pastor of the described. “We worship upful historic sanctuary so stairs in our historic rock sanc- historic church — and, as the church’s first female pastor, at that. that generations to come tuary every Sunday from Easter can gather for worship and through Christmas. When the weather turns cold, and half fellowship. And we want to partner with congregations and our folks travel to the sunny South, our smaller winter/spring service organizations in our community to do more together congregation gathers for worship downstairs in the church’s than we can do alone.” cozy fellowship hall.” In addition to its national and international missions, Celebrating 100 Years Campbell said, this church really believes in supporting its local community. Nearly two years ago, Crossnore Presbyterian Church “For example, a family in our church, the Berkleys, want- celebrated a huge milestone with Centennial Sunday on July ed to assist school children who were in need. They came 22, 2018, which Pastor Campbell described as “an amazing, up with the idea that our church could partner with other inspiring, and affirming day!” area churches — Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Fletcher “God blessed us with a day that we will remember and Presbyterian Church, and the First Baptist Church of Cross- relish for a long time to come,” she said. “For those who nore — to sponsor a chili supper with the proceeds fund- were not able to be with us physically, your spirit and your ing educational tutors for students at Crossnore Elementary prayers were with us.” School. Ten years later, we are still cooking up chili every She said that 119 people participated in the morning serfall, and filling a need created when the government cut the vice, which featured Rev. Maggie Lauterer, KJV scripture school’s funding.” readings and old-time mountain music. The afternoon serThis year, Campbell said, the joint effort raised over vice began with a packed sanctuary. “Over 200 people par$3,700 to hire the tutors who supplement learning and ticipated in the centennial worship service to the Glory of change children’s lives. God. Music ranged from the bowed psaltery to an original “Our church also offers some great opportunities to the choir anthem, composed and written by Michael Richardson, local community for enrichment and enjoyment,” she shared. to a father-daughter duet of Henry and Cindy Smith singing “Our summer speakers and music programs are very popular, his original hymn, ’Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart,’ to 46
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During the church’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2018, church quilters presented this beautiful handmade Centennial Quilt that now hangs in the sanctuary. old-time gospel tunes to send us out. Four preachers shared downstairs for a catered feast in the fellowship hall adorned scripture and a message, and our Presbyterian church part- with fresh flowers on every table. Maggie Lauterer signed ners and mission partners brought greetings and thanks for and sold many copies of her book, “Crossnore Presbyterian all the ways Crossnore Presbyterian Church shares in ministry Church Ministry and Mission: The First Hundred Years” and and mission with them.The Quilters presented the beautiful Centennial mugs. handmade Centennial Quilt that now hangs in our sanctuary “Thanks to the centennial committee for all the work that and some of the original members of the building committee took place to honor and praise God in all the minutia of deripped up the mortgage and offered a prayer of thanks to tails to make this day possible,” Campbell shared. “Also thanks God for the gifts from so many that made it possible to pay to the many volunteers who spent hours cleaning, practicing, off the mortgage in 10 years.” planting, clearing, ordering, planning, mailing, setting up, and Campbell continued, cleaning up for this great “We celebrated and afof Christ’s minCrossnore Presbyterian Church is located at celebration firmed our mission and istry and mission through outreach with 100 percent Crossnore Presbyterian 200 Chapel Drive in Crossnore. of the offering collection Church. Praise be to God To learn more about the church, or how to purchase your going to our Mission bud- copy of the centennial keepsake, call:828-733-1939, visit the for the opportunity to celeget: $2,658.00.” brate our past, present, and Website at www.crossnorepresbyterian.org, on After the inspiring future God has planned for Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cpcpcusa/ or worship, the crowd headed us.” ◆ Email firstname.lastname@example.org FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
A Young Pastor with an “Old Soul” and a Powerful Message By Sherrie Norris
than Greene wants his life to count for Jesus. Plain and and has been for the last 24 years, accepting that role one simple. “I want people to know that there is a God and month before Ethan was born. that He is real and will be real to them if they will let “My mother is an extraordinary woman,” Ethan deHim be.” scribed. “When people would remark how difficult it must Greene doesn’t want to be known for what he might say be to raise five boys, she would reply, ‘It’s not a difficulty, or not say in an interview — but he wants to be known by his it’s a blessing!’ She and dad made each of us feel that we life and actions — “And, that I believe were important — and that God had and live by the Bible — and through a special plan for each of our lives.” my life and sermons, I will point as Ethan’s brother, Andrew, next many people to Jesus as possible.” in line, lives and works outside of That’s a pretty tall order for any Washington, DC. “I am also just as minister, but given the fact that Greene excited for what is in store for our is 23 years of age, it’s pretty amazing, younger brothers, Jeremy, Isaiah to say the least. and Joshua. Each of them has great As pastor at Victory Baptist Church strengths and I am blessed to be their in Avery County, the Boone native is brother and to watch them as they making an impact far and wide, not grow. I know I am biased, but I have only through his church and commuthe best brothers.” nity, but also through an annual youth The Greene brothers have been rally that he coordinates each spring in (and the younger ones continue to Cove Creek. be) homeschooled; they have lived Possessing a deep Biblical knowlon a farm, kept cattle, and Ethan had edge and insight, usually associated a horse. “We lived on one side of the with older ministers who have been farm and my paternal grandparents around a few years, Greene knew early lived on the other.” in life that he would not only follow He recalls, on many summer days, Jesus, but that he would serve Him in he would walk the distance between a special way. the two homes. The eldest of five sons of local pastor “The walk was close to a mile each Michael Greene and his wife, Cheryl, way, with some beautiful views along and now a married man himself, Ethan the way,” he shared. “Often, I would grew up with values instilled in his life stop and admire the views, which fueled my imagination. I daydreamed from birth. He has much to say about of what I would be when I grew up those formative years that helped pave — under the branches of the same the way for his future. tree that my grandpa and my dad did “I wouldn’t trade my home life when they were growing up.” growing up for anything,” he said. The idea of ministry was a playful “We weren’t a perfect family, but evidea more than a serious thought, he eryone loved each other.” admitted. “I wanted to be like dad, He points to two major elements my hero, but I never took the idea of upon which his parents built their actual ministry serious.” home and family: “One was God and On occasion, Ethan joined his the second was a love for each othFollowing in the footsteps of his father, dad at his “prayer place.” er.” “Dad had several prayer places on Michael Greene is the pastor at Ethan Greene was preparing early for life in the ministry. the farm, but one, in particular, had Bibleway Baptist Church in Boone, 48
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A once shy Ethan Greene overcame many obstacles to be able to stand before an altar to deliver the word of God. Photo by Tara Diamond views of the valleys below and the mountains off into other states.” His mother, too, had her own prayer spot. “Not on top of a mountain, but inside our home.” Greene recalled listening to both of his parents pray — “And it was as natural as if they were talking to their best friend or close relative,” he described. “I would sometimes hear dad address God from his mountain- top prayer spot as the creator of the universe. It was an awesome thought that someone could actually talk to and know the God who made
the earth.” Greene said he could “use up this whole article” talking about his parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins — because they all made a “wonderful impression” on him and his life. “I grew up being taught the importance and value of hard work,” he said. “There was always a chore to do on the farm or in the house.” When he got his driver’s license, he went to work for a man who he now has the privilege of pastoring. “He owned FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
a landscape business and he trusted me to watch and work A piece of advice that Greene was given on his wedding on the mulch lot. I enjoyed the work and more than that, I day — and something that he won’t soon, if ever forget: “The ‘I do’ isn’t a one-time thing. You repeat it and live it and keep enjoyed the people I got to meet.” saying it. Remind yourFrom there, Greene self of the promise you started to pick up side made to your spouse on jobs mowing yards, that very special day.” which grew into a small business that he still has today — along with being a full-time pastor. “I don’t see my yards so much as work, as All the blessings in much as I do a hobby his life, Greene said, that lets me get outside “Every single one of and clear my mind,” he them — I owe to Jesaid. “I don’t have a spesus.” cific hobby, although my When he was 8, he wife would argue it was was introduced to Christ eating — but anything in a personal way. relating to the outdoors “It was on a ThursI find enjoyable.” And speaking of that As pastor at Victory Baptist Church near Newland, Ethan Greene day night, April 8, 2004, to be exact, right precious wife. “I met preaches to a packed house nearly every Sunday, having seen before Easter Sunday,” her at a youth rally I weekly attendance surge since he came two years ago. he shared. “Easter was was hosting. Her brothon the 11th that year er was my piano player. I found it hard to concentrate on moderating a meeting, and Mom had just finished reading to me the story of the though, when I all I could see was the green eyes of a girl crucifixion of Jesus. I had heard the story before — of Jesus being born in a Bethlehem barn inside of a crib filled with named Cathryn.” That night, he got her phone number, and after talking to hay, living a perfect life and then being nailed to a cross, dying, being placed in a tomb, and three days after His death, her for several weeks, he asked her to be his girlfriend. “We dated from December 2015 until we got married on miraculously getting back up, just as alive as though He had June 10, 2017,” he said. “ I love her more today than I ever never died, and after being seen and verified by earthly witnesses, He went back to heaven.” dreamed I could when I said ‘I do’.”
He Owes it All to Jesus
From humble beginnings and through difficult days, it is evident that Victory Baptist Church never Photo by Tara Diamond lost sight of its desire for God’s provision. 50
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Cathryn and Ethan Greene stand side-by-side in marriage and ministry. “Outside of trusting Christ to be my Savior, Photo by Tara Diamond nothing has changed my life any more than being married to Cathryn,” said Greene. But something about that time during the story, Greene said, “I could picture Jesus hanging on the cross, beaten and hurting, about to die and realizing that He was doing that because He loved me and wanted to give me a home in heaven one day with Him.” In the bedroom floor, he knelt down and asked Jesus to forgive him for his sins. “I trusted Jesus to be my personal Savior, and at that very moment He forgave me for my sins, past, present and future, and gave me a peace and joy that I have never got over. Jesus changed my life! What He did for me, He can do for anyone!”
His Path to the Ministry From that point on, Greene was anxious to share his faith with anyone who would listen. “On Friday, after receiving Christ into my heart on Thursday, our church was having a men’s prayer meeting. I was so excited to tell the men that I had gotten saved — but the most amazing part was when we started praying, I felt in my heart that now when I prayed, God was actually listening to me!” While traveling with his dad to meetings where he
Photo by Kim Greene Scott/Timeless Treazures Photography FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
The Greene family, from left to right: Isaiah, Cathryn and Ethan, parents Michael and Cheryl, Joshua, Andrew and Jeremy. Photo by Kim Greene Scott/Timeless Treazures Photography was preaching, the two talked about many things along the way. “Many times, my dad would remind me of the importance of finding out what God wanted from me,” Greene recalled. “He never pushed ‘the call,’ or encouraged me to consider the ministry. He wanted what God wanted for my life — and I appreciate that very much.” When Greene was 9, he said, God put a love in his heart for people — one that he hasn’t been able to since shake. “I would cry over complete strangers, because I wasn’t sure if they knew Jesus,” he shared. “I would stuff my pockets full of gospel tracts and pass them out to whoever would take them. Even then, it was becoming clear that the only way for me to satisfy what was in my heart was to tell as many people as I could about the Lord.” It seemed like ministry was in his future, even then, he said. “But, there were several problems — or at least they seemed like problems to me. I was too young, I was super shy — and even though my dad was my hero — I didn’t want to spend my life in the ministry. I shrugged off the thought of preaching, every time it entered my mind.” Beginning his teenage years, Greene said, he was engaged in all sorts of activities and spent a lot of time with his friends, fishing and hanging out. “But it was always in the back of my mind, that God 52
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A young Ethan Greene being baptized by his father, the Rev. Michael Greene.
Rev. Ethan Greene, seated, fourth from left, is surrounded by other ministers of the gospel during the annual Rising to the Occasion Youth Rally at the old Cove Creek School gymnasium. might want to call me into the ministry,” he said. “The thought of preaching scared me.” One winter Sunday when his dad had to call off church because of inclement weather, he asked Ethan to teach a Bible lesson to the family. “I was so scared. And after a lengthy five minutes, I sat back down. I told the Lord that if I was too nervous to teach a Bible lesson to my family, there was no way I could preach to strangers.” He remembers becoming so miserable though, that finally, in the early part of May, 2010, at the age of 14, he climbed a hill on the family farm — with a shovel in one hand and a Bible in the other. “When I found what I thought was a good spot, I used the shovel to level the ground, gathered some rocks, stacked them on top of each other and laid my Bible open. I said, ‘God, if you’re as real as this Bible says you are, and if you have the power to create the heavens and the earth as the Bible says you have, then I want to know you in a real and powerful way, and if that means that I preach just to get peace again in my heart, and if preaching is how I can know you better, then I’m willing.’” On the last Sunday of May, his dad had scheduled a youth meeting for that afternoon.
A young man with an old soul” is how many people describe Ethan Greene. Photo by Kim Greene Scott/Timeless Treazures Photography FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
versations never fazed her.” He continued, “One Wednesday evening, Cathryn and I pulled into the parking lot of a church where I was scheduled to preach that night and I asked her a question. She knew that I had previously assisted a pastor in Boston, Mass. several years prior, so before we walked into church I asked her, just as serious as I could be: ‘Cathryn, if God told me to move to Boston to pastor, would you be alright going with me?’ Without batting an eye, her immediate response was: “Ethan, if you tell me that God wants you to preach in Boston, or somewhere else around the world, I’ll follow you wherever.’ I’m not pastoring in Boston, but I have watched how Cathryn has handled the pressures of life in the ministry. She is right there with me. She likes to say that she Newlyweds Ethan and Cathryn Greene share a love for the Lord, is my cheerleader. She certainly for each other and their ministry. is! She can be brutally honest with me, but she is always full “Cody Shew, a semi-professional bull rider was preaching of compassion. Outside of trusting Christ to be my Savior, that night on a message called ‘Divine Possibilities,’ Greene nothing has changed my life any more than being married shared. “In the message, he mentioned that God could do more with your life than you could ever dream of doing to Cathryn.” Before he had his driver’s license, he would have to ask yourself. All you had to do was let go and give it to God.” for rides to get from church to church “Either from my mom, That Sunday evening, May 30, 2010, Greene surren(not dad, because he was busy preaching himself), grandpardered his life to serve Christ. ents or older friends. I never claimed to be an evangelist, “Most people are willing to give Jesus their heart, but although I was traveling quite a bit and doing the duties of very few ever give Him their life,” he explained. “I told the one.” Lord at the altar that night that I didn’t know how to preach, Greene was 16, he said, when God put pastoring in his but if I made a fool of myself trying — if that’s what God heart. wanted — I would gladly do it for Him.” “I started praying for the church I was to pastor at 16, Outside of salvation, answering the call of God for his even though it would be five years before God answered that life was the best thing to happen to him, he said. prayer,” he said. “Around the same time that God was deal“And because of the call, I met my wife,” he said with ing with my heart to preach, I met a man who questioned a smile. “I owe everything good in my life to Jesus. I tell me about my direction in life. After I told him I was already people all the time that the will of God is different for everyinvolved in ministry work, he asked if I felt like I was missing one. The will of God might be for someone to be a welder, out on the things that most my age would be interested in?” a lawyer, a nurse or doctor. For me, it was to be a preacher. Greene said he remembered a song that mentioned how Whatever the will of God is, there is nothing like knowing Christians do, in fact, miss out. “The song implies that Chriswhat it is for your life — and then doing it!” tians have missed out on the heartaches and sorrows of sin. Greene’s wife, the former Cathryn Clark, was raised in That was my reply.” Granite Falls and has worked at Samaritans Purse. Having alGreene said he will always be appreciative to all the men ways wanted to be a hair stylist, she recently completed coswho opened their pulpits to him when he was just getting metology school and currently works at a salon in Boone. started. “She loves it, and people love the job she does,” Greene “They trusted me and loved on me,” he said. “ I am forsaid. “She knew I was a preacher before we started dating, so ever indebted to them. I have often been called an ‘old soul,’ she knew what she was getting,” he said with a chuckle. “But, and I suppose that is partially true. But what can you expect I’m not sure she knew what all she was signing up for.” from a teenager following around and listening in to converBefore their marriage, the couple had in-depth discussations of men who are more than twice his age?” sions of the affects of ministry on a marriage and on a family, Greene said. “We talked about the pros and cons. These con54
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Walking the Walk After Greene started in the ministry, one of his spiritual heroes became a man who had died five years before he started preaching: Adrian Rogers with Love Worth Finding Ministries. “Outside of my dad, his recorded sermons did as much to bolster my faith in the Word of God as anyone else,” he said. “Since I answered the call into the ministry, God had blessed me with many friends in the ministry, and not just older men, but many who are around my own age, who I can call or meet up for fellowship.” One of those friends, Corey Engebretson, pastor of Floyd Baptist Church in Eden, shared: “Ethan is a man of great character who loves the Lord and has a mind and wisdom way above his years. Who he is behind the pulpit is who he is behind closed doors.” The two met several years ago when Greene was speaking in a church of a mutual pastor friend and have gotten to know each other well. “He’s got a mountain country twang that I loved from the start — I had never heard anything like that before. I consider him one of my best friends and like a brother I never had. We talk several times a week. He’s so kind and he listens. He has so much wisdom, you just wouldn’t expect that from a man so young. I’m 28 and I look up to him. God is using him in a mighty way. His influence is on the small end of something big.” Derrick Wilson, pastor for the last 20 years at Timbered Ridge Baptist Church near the Bethel Community, is also a dear friend and mentor to Greene. “I’ve known him a long time, and as a good friend to his daddy, I watched him grow up,” Wilson said. “There’s not a finer young man in this country than Ethan Greene. He started helping me preach when he was about 15, right after he announced his calling to preach. He’s sure been a blessing to me and Timbered Ridge. Anytime I needed to be gone for some reason, he would be there to fill in for me.” Wilson said he was blessed to help in Greene’s ordination service, and at his wedding. “The Lord is really using that young man. I think the world of him and his sweet wife.” Wilson said Greene also helps him with services at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in Boone on the third Sunday of every month. Greene is thankful for his friends, he said, but
Cathryn and Ethan Greene take a stand for life from Boone to Washington, DC. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
admitted that ministry can still be “a lonely thing.” While he has no regrets that he gave his life to Jesus at such an early age, he said, “There are challenges that I face, but no matter what age you are, trials are going to come. I read recently where only about 15 percent of the pastors in America now are under the age of 40. I consider myself very blessed to be a part of the percentage.” Jesus outweighs all of the negatives, Greene stressed. “If I had a mission, it would be to build people’s confidence in the Bible and to point as many people to Christ as possible. People aren’t going to respond to Christ if they don’t believe, and they aren’t going to believe without the Bible. Romans 10:17 says: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” People have often asked Greene what version of the Bible he uses — or would recommend. “My reply is the King James Bible, no matter what age or background. I have heard the arguments both for and against it, and my personal choice and conviction is to stay with it. I have not found a reason not to trust it. It’s been reliable and powerful and if it isn’t broke, in my estimation, then there’s nothing to fix.” Greene said he has been told that he would never see a church or youth program grow if he held onto that version of the Bible. “I was told it was too hard to read or understand. But, they told me that too late. I was 8 when I read through my Bible, the King James Bible, for the first time, and I had no problem with it. Once I finished, I read through it again, and I have read through it several times since. I have friends who disagree with me on this issue, and that’s all right. I have made my choice.” Why is he so convinced? “I believe the King James Bible, written in the old English language, gives a very thorough, in-depth and beautiful picture of Christ,” he said. “The book does a magnificent job painting a picture of Jesus to its readers. That’s what I’m looking for, to make much of Jesus, and that’s exactly what it does.”
God Answered His Prayer to Pastor In January, 2017 God answered Greene’s prayer to pastor a church. “After serving as interim at a few other churches, and then coming to Victory Baptist Church to also serve in an interim position, I was voted in unanimously to be their pastor.” He can’t describe the emotions he felt that day, Greene said, “Except by saying it was a mixture of both absolute fear and overwhelming joy.” He was 21, he and Cathryn had been married for six months, and he was going to be the second pastor in the church’s almost 40-year his56
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tory. “Preacher James Beaver was 91, and he and his wife, before she passed away, had been married more than 50 years. What a contrast!” he said. “The church had started in a house basement and then moved around to occupy space in a greenhouse once, and a burned-out trailer another time, before ultimately buying an old general store on Squirrel Creek Road,” he described. “As the church grew, they added a main seating area to the back of the store front and that was their church. Preacher Beaver, as we call him, is still an encouragement to me. He’s not in the best of health and isn’t able to attend church much anymore. I will go and see him, and each time I do, I try to make it clear how grateful I am to him for his faithful leadership all those years. I feel like I’m reaping benefits in fields he sowed in for most of his ministry.” When Greene got the call to fill in, the congregation was averaging 35 to 40 in attendance on Sunday mornings, and most of those were older members. “But, what I saw in that group of believers was a desire to see God do something big and to use them to reach others in their community,” Greene said. “Not a one of them, to my knowledge, believed that God was finished with their church. I laid out a vision for the future and they jumped right on board. After they voted me in, we went straight to work.” Change was a big part of the process, he recalled. “There was a change in leadership, a change in the service structure, a change with just about everything — except with the Word of God and our music. We are still preaching from the King James Bible and we still have a conservative tone to our music. In two years, we have watched God, not me or my ministry, but God grow His church in rural Avery County from 40 to a consistent 100 plus congregants on Sunday mornings.” To make additional space, the church recently remodeled its sanctuary, which increased seating capacity by more than 50 seats. “On our first Sunday back in the building, we had 153 in attendance,” Greene shared. “I remember back to what my wife’s former pastor had told me once: ‘If you will be faithful to preach the Word, Christ will build His Church.’ That’s been our philosophy. We preach unapologetically that the Bible is a book of absolute truth and not situational ethics. It has the power to change anyone’s life who will believe and obey it. It may be contrary to today’s society and culture, but if God said it, that settles it for me, whether I believe it or not!” David Cooke, deacon at Victory Baptist Church, had this to say about his young pastor: “He’s the most advanced in preaching God’s word of any young man that I’ve ever heard. We’ve been able to watch him grow since he’s been here and it’s not like anything we’ve ever
seen before.” Cooke said the church thought Greene would be a great minister for the youth — “And he loves the youth, but what he’s doing for our older adults is unbelievable. God is using this young man in a special way. There’s not many like him. We love him.” Cooke said the church has really grown since Greene came as its pastor — even during the recent period of renovation, attendance was growing with services in the fellowship hall. What makes him stand out, we asked Cooke? “He’s committed to God.” It bothers Greene, he said, to see our nation turning its back on God. “In God we Trust is our motto and on the principles of the Word of God we have stood and been blessed by God for it, but if we don’t get back to taking a stand on the scriptures again — instead of apologizing and trying to reinterpret what the Bible says — we are going to find ourselves in a bad place, nationally, much quicker than we had imagined possible. “ Greene refers to the following scripture, found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” In May, Greene will celebrate 10 years in the ministry. “If God will help me, I plan on doing the same thing for the next 10 years and however long I have on earth — believing the Bible and preaching Jesus! I told my wife that I hope one day, at the end of my life, people can simply say that I was a man who believed and lived by the Bible.”
Rising to the Occasion Youth Rally In 2014, Ethan Greene preached a message from 1 Samuel 17:29 titled “Rising to the Occasion.” In the text, he spoke of the Philistines who were fighting against the Israelites, and included a man named Goliath. “The Bible recorded that he was a giant — and on top of that, he was very skilled in military combat. While everyone, including King Saul of Israel, was afraid to fight against him, David asked the question, ‘Is there not a cause?’ As I look around at my generation, I see giants of drug addiction, alcohol addiction, lust and immorality, fear and depression, and I have asked myself the same question — ‘Is there not a cause?’ After much prayer and preparation, in 2015 Greene, with the help of fellow pastors, family and friends, hosted the first Rising to the Occasion Youth Rally at the Old Cove Creek Gym in Sugar Grove. “Around 200 attended that meeting,” Greene said. Since then, the attendance has steadily grown. “Last year, in the Friday evening service, we had close to
Photos by Tara Diamond 500 attending. This year, in April, we will, Lord willing, do it again.” The scheduled dates are: Wed., April 29 – Fri., May 1, and again, at the Old Cove Creek Gym, 205 Dale Adams Rd. in Sugar Grove. The service are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. each night, with special guest speakers and musicians. “This meeting is for all ages, although it’s labeled a youth rally,” Greene said. “It blesses my heart to look out and see a multigenerational audience. We are in this together, no matter what age, race or background.” Greene said the rally shares the same emphasis with other areas of his ministry: “Build people’s confidence in the Bible and preach Jesus!” It is all surreal to Greene, he said, “Because I was never the most athletic player on the team. I wasn’t usually the first choice. On the gym floor at Old Cove Creek, when I was playing on a Parks and Rec basketball team, I proved this point very well by stealing the ball and shooting for the opposite team. I felt like the biggest failure that night, embarrassed and ashamed.” He had no idea, though, that several years down the road, he wouldn’t be carrying a basketball into that gym, but rather, a Bible. If he had one message to share with every young person in America, Greene said, “It would be that you are never too young to serve the Lord. Give your heart to Jesus in salvation, acknowledge that He alone can save you from your sins. Ask Jesus to forgive you and save you — and He will. And, once you have given Him your heart, go ahead and give Him your life!” Those who know him, Greene said, have heard him say: “Living for Jesus is like a dream come true!” ◆ (Dates and times of rally subject to change due to Corona Virus restrictions.) FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
The Rev. Larry Young “Have Bible, Will Preach”
Pastor in the Peaks By Sherrie Norris
he Rev. Larry Young, longtime pastor of Brookside behave so much better than anyone else.” Presbyterian Church in Boone, is a soft-spoken, digThe principal, Mr. Lacey, smiled down at him and said, nified gentleman of the cloth, and he leaves no one “Anytime you want to begin!” doubting his stance in life. He’s known as the “Pastor in the “I went out the bathroom window and went home,” Peaks” and his business card conveys a simple, yet profound, Young said. “He, (Mr. Lacey), was kind. He never told my message: “Have Bible will Preach.” parents. Those were the days when, if you were punished at His mission, taken from the scripture found in Acts 20:24 school, you were punished more severely at home if your is “to testify the Gospel of the Grace of God.” His objective, parents found out.” from Colossians 1:28 — “… When he finished high so that we may present evschool in Connecticut, eryone perfect in Christ.” Young went off to Buffalo Both passages have sigBible Institute in Buffalo, nificance to Young, who has New York. “Since I still spent his adult life sharing wasn’t far enough away, the word of God with conmy folks and three brothers gregations across the east moved out toward the end of coast and beyond. Cape Cod, Mass., where my Young came to Boone father pastored a church,” in 1993, and despite beYoung recalled. “Any farther ing recruited to lead other away and they would have congregations elsewhere, been in the ocean!” he became firmly planted in When he transferred the High Country of North from Buffalo to Columbia Carolina, a place he had Bible College in Columbia, loved for many years prior. SC, his family moved to VirBorn in Pennsylvania, ginia Beach, Va., where his Young grew up in New Engfather pastored a church — land and received his public “Because I told them how education in Rhode Island great the South was.” His and Connecticut. three brothers stayed in VirWhile describing himself ginia; his parents are now as a “PK – Preacher’s Kid,” deceased. he is very clear that, just because his father was a minPreparing for ister, he was not given an God’s Service inside track to God. “I had The Rev. Larry Young during a recent service at to come to trust Jesus Christ As a junior at Columbia Brookside Presbyterian Church personally as my Lord and College, now CIU, Young Savior, just like anyone else,” he said. experienced a period of doubt regarding his salvation. “Here His mother was a piano teacher, possibly laying the foun- I was, preparing to serve God – and having doubts. One dation for his eventual love for music. night, I knelt by my bunk and prayed, telling God that if He recalls, while in the seventh or eighth grade, telling I had never trusted Christ the way I’m supposed to, or had the school principal (when he had to stay after school one enough faith, or whatever, that night I wanted to make it time,) “I don’t get it. Just because my father happens to be certain.” the minister in this town, everyone thinks I’m supposed to Shortly afterward, Young came across II Timothy 2:19 in 58
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the Bible – “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” “It hit me,” Young said. “It’s more important that God knows I’m his, than that I know it. That was a great relief. But, the verse went on to say, ‘And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’ That verse has meant a lot to me over the course of my life.” And the song, “Only A Sinner Saved by Grace,” represents his personal testimony hymn, he said. “That’s the gospel . . . the good news.” At Columbia, Young sang baritone in the Light of Life Quartet and did the scheduling for the group. “It all started when a guy across the hall from me said he had heard a guy with a bass voice singing in the shower. The next thing we knew, we were starting a quartet. We sang a cappella and really worked on harmony. We sang at just about every church and situation imaginable — from street meetings to an all-night southern gospel sing. I’ll always
remember the high tenor of the Men of Melody southern gospel quartet (our good friends) saying, as we got up to sing, “Sing it sweetly, boys.” They liked our smooth harmony, necessary when you sing without accompaniment. All the Men of Melody are gone on now, as well the fellow who sang bass with us. Perhaps, I could say they are all singing in heaven now!” Between college and seminary, Young worked as a summer assistant at the First ARP Church of Rock Hill, SC, essentially teaching the Children’s Catechism and the Westminster Short Catechism. “All told, there were 50 word-perfect recitations of the catechisms,” he recalled. As a seminarian, Young spent two summers as student pastor at the Wrens and Ebenezer ARP Churches in Wrens, Ga. The Ebenezer church was founded in 1770. After finishing Erskine Theological Seminary and being ordained, he was invited to officiate his first Holy Communion in that FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
historic church. As a student (seminarian) at Erskine, Young spent two summers as student supply pastor for the two churches in Wrens, the one in town and the one outside of town, the latter begun pre-American Revolution in 1770. Ebenezer, the one outside of town, was only having services twice a month. “When I arrived that first summer, I suggested they meet every Sunday. They said, ‘We can’t pay you more.’ I told them that was not necessary. Since I would be preaching at the church in town every Sunday, I would have a sermon prepared.” At the end of the summer, Young suggested they continue to worship every Sunday and divide what they gave him over the four Sundays each month. They have continued to meet every Sunday since that summer of 1966, he noted. One of the elders suggested to Young, that after he finished seminary and was ordained, that he come and officiate his first Holy Communion there, mentioning that prior students had done that. Young accepted the offer. “They set up tables in the front and came and sat at the tables for the communion service,” he recalled. “That congregation has had a special place in my heart. I preached a revival for them one summer, a couple years ago, and stayed in the home of a man who was 12 when I was student supply. It was a special time.”
To Mexico And Back Again Upon completing seminary in 1968, Young went to Mexico as a missionary. Returning to the states, he became pastor of Neely’s Creek ARP Church in Rock Hill, SC. After 6 ½ years there, he returned to Mexico as a missionary. Larry Young and his proud mother share During that time, he traveled as chauffeur for a vetone of his early milestones following his 1964 eran missionary of 45 years, John Thomas, a well-known evangelist in Mexico. Upon offering to be his driver, graduation from Columbia Bible College. Thomas told Young, “You’ll share with me in prayer and the ministry of the word (See Acts 6:4). Young said, “I used to say that I preached short and Mr. Thomas preached long. Usually, we would both preach in the same service.” And often, he said, they prayed as they traveled. He told me to “watch and pray” as I drove. (See Matthew 26:41.) He was a great spiritual mentor.” Returning to the states, Young became the pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Columbia, SC.; followed by First Presbyterian church, Panama City, Fla. “One Sunday after the service in Panama City, the bank owner’s wife came up to me and said that that was the greatest sermon that had ever been “Every man must have a toy,” says Larry Young, who is pictured preached in that church,” Young rehere with his ‘64 Karmann Ghia convertible. called. “That was high praise, since Dr. 60
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Louis Evans, pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian Church (Calif.) used to vacation in the Panama City area and was invited to preach there.” Young then accepted an assignment for several months on the Grand Cayman Island at Boatswain Bay Presbyterian, helping the congregation with a church growth project. “On my initial trip to the island, I was to be there two weeks,” he recounted. “ I understood that I would preach Sunday morning and evening the first Sunday I was there. That’s all. The first Sunday, the church van came by and picked me up for Sunday School, which was the hour before the worship service. The next Sunday morning, the church van did not come to get me for the Sunday School hour. As it became closer to the 11 a.m. worship hour, all of a sudden the church van wheeled in with a different driver than before. He was apologizing profusely, saying he was the regular driver and was off the island last week and didn’t know he was supposed to pick me up. As I walked in the church service, which had already begun, I saw the elderly sister of the elder who had begun the church and some ladies sitting with her, and went to sit with them. She said for me to go sit on the platform; I noticed the pastor beckoning me to come up. I thought how nice, they want to honor me, since I had preached there last Sunday. During the pastor’s prayer, I heard him praying for their guest speaker that morning. Oh no, it dawned on me that he was praying for me!” Larry Young was about 12 years of age living in Scotland, Conn. That experience led Young to adopt when this photo was taken. the saying, “A pastor must be prepared to preach, pray or die at any mobeing a home missionary? That worked for me, since I’ve ment.” always been partial to the mountains and had earlier vacaOn the big day of the attendance push, called “Friend tioned at Beech Mountain back in the Land of Oz days. Day” there were more cars than there had been people the Young shared that his second daughter, Amy, always said preceding Sunday, Young recalled. she wanted to be Dorothy when she grew up. “I returned to Columbia SC from the Cayman Islands. “Her aunt made her a Dorothy dress and she has a picture Two men from the church I had served there, Calvary Pres- of herself in the dress with the Dorothy of the Land of Oz byterian [PCA}, unbeknownst to each other, came to me that year.” separately and asked me to return to that church. I did for a Even earlier, as he had gone to pastor in Panama City, he year before going to Ebenezer ARP Church in Charlotte and had been talking with a church in Newland. returning to the ARP fold, in which I had been ordained in “I wanted to come to the mountains, then, but we had a 1968.” family council and I was out-voted five-to-one to go to the beach.” God Moves in Mysterious Ways All four of his children, three daughters and his one son, As Young was leaving Charlotte, the Presbytery’s Com- now deceased, were teenagers at the time. He has since been mittee on Church Extension asked him to come to Boone. blessed with seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “They told me that I’d been a foreign missionary, how ‘bout (It is a blessing, too, Young noted, that all three of his FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
What people are saying about the
Reverend Larry Young Sandra Painter “I began visiting Brookside during the week when I lived in Gastonia and my son had moved to Boone, so when I moved to Blowing Rock, I was so happy to know I had a church. Pastor asked each of us one time, why we each chose Brookside, and my answer was because of him. After being a dedicated missionary for so many years, he began serving the Brookside family with the same love — sometimes with salary and sometimes without. Pastor has been with me through several surgeries, and he and Joyce have prayed me through some tough times. And, as he says, if you want Bible, you want Brookside. I have always been touched by his dedication to teaching the Bible and his dedication to the Brookside Family.” Rob Houser: “Larry Young is a man who preaches from the Bible and does so with vigor and love for the Lord. He can always be counted on during times of grief, loss and healing. A mainstay at a hospital bedside when a loved one is convalescent, and a lunch or dinner companion should you mention a certain Mexican restaurant in Boone. Our Pastor in the Peaks.”
daughters have since been involved with Bible Study Fellowship where they live. His youngest daughter, Heidi, has been involved in leadership in the Atlanta area.) At that same time, Young had also been contemplating teaching for a semester in Africa. “As William Cowper’s hymn states, ‘God moves in a mysterious way,’” he said, adding that it tied into one of the hymns that helps sum up his life: “Jesus led me all the way, led me step by step each day.” Finally, in ‘93, he arrived in the mountains, and has been here ever since. “After coming to Boone, I did receive a telephone call from an elder at Panama City, asking if I would consider returning. As you can see, I am still here. I declined that offer.”
Becoming a local in Boone Young officially became a “local” in Boone, he said, by marrying a Moretz 19 years ago, although at the time, she, Joyce, was living in Asheville. Their wedding ceremony in Boone followed directly on the heels of a worship service he had conducted on Sunday, January 21, 2001; fellow minister, the Rev Tim Greene, (a member of the family singing group,
Jerry Greer: “Retired Former Pastor of First Baptist Church, McKinleyville, Calif., and Pulpit Supply Preacher in Northern Calif.: My admiration for Dr. Lawrence C. Young, as a pastor and friend, continues to grow. I met Pastor Larry Young while on a trip to Boone in 2006 when he helped co-officiate my mother’s funeral. That began a long friendship that continues to this day. As I’ve gotten to know Larry over the years, I can tell you he is a dedicated, committed, well-educated and experienced pastor that has a unique combination of pastoral skills and compassion for ministry that shines forth in his love for God and for his congregation at Brookside Presbyterian Church. Dr. Young is a man of deep conviction in the ministry God called him to at Brookside and the surrounding Carolina communities. His long years of pastoral ministry and missions work has yielded a fruitful ministry to the Glory of God. He was called to pastoral ministry as a young man and he continues to serve with enthusiasm, confident in God’s call on his life to serve God and others. My life and ministry have been deeply enriched by my friendship with Dr. Lawrence C. Young.” Rev. Gordon Noble “When I think of a good pastor-preacher,
Dr. Larry Young stands out clear. I have watched him as he ministers to people, preach a revival and do a funeral. This man of God stands out from many of us. I thank God he is my friend, brother in Christ and one I can look up to.” 62
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
The Rev. Larry Young was honored at a celebration at Brookside Presbyterian Church when he received his doctorate.
The Greenes) officiated the ceremony, with Morris Hatton playing and singing as a prelude before the ceremony. “Last September 1, Joyce, retired as Director of Nurses at the Student Health Services at Appalachian State University,” Young said. “Many folks in Boone know her brother, the veterinarian, Dr. Warren Moretz. I always laugh and say that I married his little sister.” Young has developed close friendships with numerous local pastors, well-known personalities and others in the High Country who have had a great impact upon his life. “After I first met Doc Watson at Thompson’s Restaurant in Deep Gap, I told him I wanted to ask Billy Graham’s brother, Melvin, to speak at Brookside — and would he (Doc) come and do some music. He agreed to do so. I then told Melvin that I was asking Doc Watson to sing — and asked if he would come and speak.” Young had known Melvin since the early ‘70s, as the Graham brothers had grown up in the ARP denomination at the Chalmers Memorial ARP Church in Charlotte. “Both Doc and Melvin came — and that little ‘converted house’ where Brookside meets, was crammed with 73 people. People were sitting in the kitchen looking through the door and all the way down the hallway,” Young recalled. “Franklin Graham had told some of the folks at Samaritan’s Purse they should go and hear his uncle. His wife, Jane came with one of their sons. Since that service, after Melvin died, his son, Mel, came as a guest testimony, and Doc played and sang.” Young was out of town when Doc Watson died. “ My mother-in-law called and told us on the telephone. I called a friend in Pennsylvania, who was a big Doc Watson fan, to tell him. He asked me if I would be doing the funeral. I replied, ‘Goodness, no.’” Upon returning to the church, Young discovered a message from Barney Hampton saying that the Watson family wanted Young to assist with the funeral. “I was privileged to do Doc’s funeral with his nephew, Pastor Gary Watson.” Among some of Young’s other fond memories and acquaintances locally include preaching a final revival for the Rev. Gordon Noble before his retirement. “I laugh and say I preached him out of the pulpit. He preached his last sermon on Sunday, and I preached through Thursday night. He said that was the best revival they had had in 50 years.” Young always had guest testimonies, and Harold Hayes would sing just before he preached, a method he learned from the Billy Graham crusades, who always had George Beverly Shea sing before he preached. “I told Harold I wanted him to be my George Beverly Shea, and that I can’t preach unless he sings.”
An early picture of the Rev. Larry Young and his wife, Joyce, in front of Brookside Presbyterian Church in Boone.
A summer afternoon ride with the top down helps a busy couple maintain perspective.
Larry and Joyce Young enjoy spending a few minutes with a young child born into their family a short time before this photo was taken. FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
More About Brookside Presbyterian Church Brookside Presbyterian Church began as an off-shoot of Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. December 11, 1988 – The first organizational meeting, attended by twenty interested persons, was held in the sanctuary of the Roman Catholic Church of the Epiphany in Blowing Rock. February 20, 1989 – The very first church service was held with the Reverend Ken Clapp, administrator of Blowing Rock Assembly Grounds and a United Church of Christ minister, preaching the sermon. Many different supply ministers from several different denominations followed. July 16, 1989 to April 15, 1990 – The first full-time pastor, the Reverend Fred Barnes, a Baptist minister served the congregation. The Presbyterian congregation was being served by a minister with a Baptist background in a Catholic church. The church members felt the need to belong to something more concrete and more Presbyterian than just name.
The Rev. Larry Young is not only a friend to many, but also a wise mentor to a number of younger pastors.
Morris Hatton “Larry Young and I have been good friends since the first time we met, and that’s when he came into WVIO, the radio station at Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock, where I was working. He hadn’t been in Boone very long at that time. He asked me to assist with the Christmas Eve service at his church – and I’ve been doing it now for over 26 years. We’ve been through a lot together through the years. He helped me with my taxi service and has served on the board of directors for my ministry, Morris Rockford Hatton Ministries, Inc. Anywhere I’m speaking or singing, he’s likely to show up, and I have tried to be there for him, as well. The good thing about Larry is, he’s not just available for the Presbyterians – he’s there for all of us. He knows how to cross that line. We don’t necessarily agree on everything since I’m Mennonite and even kinda Pentacostal, but I can handle him, if he can handle me.” Mark Heisey, a younger ministerial colleague: “I look up to Larry as a mentor. He relates to me as a peer, but only because of his graciousness. He is comfortable in his pastoral role, yet humble; sharing wisdom often in the form of a question, yet ready to learn — and all without the barrier of denominational pride or list of accomplishments. He is a pastor who loves people, has an honest heart and knows the Bible”
FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
August 21, 1990 – The Brookside congregation was received into the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) by First Presbytery. First Presbytery covers the state of North Carolina. November 1990 – The Reverend Jim Fletcher of Duluth, GA, began duties as stated supply pastor. March 7, 1991 – The first meeting of the Provisional Session of Brookside Presbyterian Church, ARP was held and extended a call to Mr. Fletcher to become mission developer at Brookside. November 1992 – The present facility was obtained. Renovations were made and the first service was held on Christmas Eve of that year. August 1993 – Pastor Fletcher was forced to retire because of poor health. September 1993 – At the request of the Presbytery’s Church Extension committee, the Reverend Lawrence C. Young came to Brookside as mission developer. Dr. Young continues to serve the congregation. (Adapted from a brief history written by Mr. Duane Clark, one of the original members of Brookside Presbyterian Church.)
The Rev. Larry Young and the Rev. Morris Hatton have enjoyed a lengthy friendship that finds both men giving and receiving of their time and talent to uplift one another.
Among other special guest speakers at his church through team preaching with Chief Silverheels, the son of Tonto of the years include Kent Tarbutton, proprietor of Chetola; Dr. the Lone Ranger program. The pastor of Red Path is Young’s Bob Ellison, former Director of Student Health Services at son-in-law, married to his oldest daughter, Robin. App State and others, as well as his wife and brother-inThe following weekend, he was scheduled to preach a law. revival at New Beginnings Presbyterian Church, ARP in Pine “One Sunday night, when my mother was here for a couple Level, near Smithfield. months in the summer to escape the heat of Virginia Beach, I When recently asked about any thoughts of retirement, took her to church at Proffit’s Grove Baptist, and mentioned Young was quick to reply. “I have no plans to retire —for me, that, if they would like, she could play a piano solo for them. it’s shop ‘til you drop, preach ‘til you plop!” Well, she did play. After the service, Pastor Delmar James inAnd in his free time? “I love to hike and I enjoy all kinds vited me to come the next of music — from Bach to Sunday night and preach. I bluegrass.” said, ‘You’re only inviting He currently sings with me because you want my a group of 15-20 men mother to come back and called Mountain Thunder, play again.’ The next Sunwhich visits routinely at day night, Pastor Delmar Deerfield Ridge Assisted introduced me, just before Living, the Foley Center, I was to preach. Then, he and Glenbridge, and sings said, ‘But before he comes at revivals and other speto preach, I’m going to ask cial services. his mother to come and “It was initially begun play for us again.’ Delmar from men of Bethelview James and his late wife, Methodist and TaberDianne, became very dear nacle Baptist, but now at friends after that.” least four or five different And, about the earchurches are represented. lier referenced “converted There are six ministers house,” Young said, “I resinging with the group, cently saw Pastor Charlie three of which are retired. Martin of Bethel Baptist, “Pastor Gary Watson, and told him that I bet I one of the original Mounam one of the few pastors tain Thunders, was surin Boone who preaches in a prised to discover, at some ‘converted’ house. How I point, the rich history of wish ‘conversion’ to Christ the ARP denomination,” would be that easy — or Young said. “Along the way, be that easy to “convert” he was telling someone people to Christ.” that a Reformed PresbyteYoung said that he’s been rian sang with the group. praying for God to send “a They asked what does Retrue, genuine, heaven-sent formed mean. Pastor Gary revival to Boone” and that answered, “They’re trying many would be converted to do better.’” to Christ — and the whole On getting along with ambience of Boone and the Christians of other deWatauga County would nominations and some difbe filled with the love and fering beliefs, Young said The Rev. Larry Young is known as a mentor, a man righteousness of Christ. comfortable in his pastoral role, yet humble and one who with a chuckle, “If I’m go“He (God) makes a ing to spend eternity with loves people, has an honest heart and knows the Bible. change. He transforms them, I better get along lives. He could and can with them down here.” ◆ transform a community,” Young said. “ I long to see a great awakening like the one in this country back in the 1730s The Rev. Larry Young and his congregation invite the community to join and 40s. I am praying the police and sheriff ’s reports in the them at Brookside Presbyterian Church, ARP, (Associate Reformed newspaper would — and will — dwindle to almost noth- Presbyterian)located at 1122 Old 421 South Boone NC 28607. Services ing.” begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays. With a busy year (2020) ahead, Young was scheduled in For more information 828--262-5020 March of this year at Red Path Fellowship Baptist Church .facebook.com/brooksideARP/ • boonebrooksidechurch.org at the Catawba Indian Reservation in Rock Hill SC, tagFAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020
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FAITH MAGAZINE - Spring 2020