In November of 1979, my wife Donna and I made a conscious choice to move to Eminence where I was to become the “new” pastor of the Eminence Baptist Church. Several years later, an opportunity came along to move to a city and to assume the pastorate of a much larger church. After several months of prayerful thought and deliberation, we chose to remain in Eminence and for me to continue to serve as the pastor of Eminence Baptist Church. While the potential move to a city held many pluses, when we weighed them against the value of living in a small town, Eminence won.
I’m now beginning my 32nd year as pastor of the Eminence Baptist Church and as a citizen of Eminence and Henry County. Donna and I have never second-guessed our decision to remain in this community. We are blessed to have a place to call home, to have friends throughout the county, and to have had opportunities to be involved in our community’s life.
On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 28, we sat with other Henry County residents in the sanctuary of the Eminence Christian Church. They were hosting a program, “Henry County Pride in Arts,” that spotlighted local artists. During the course of the afternoon, we heard presentations by two instrumentalists (pianist Alice Newman and organist Wayne Sparrow), two soloists (Alyssa Jones and Ilse Apéstegui), and a local author (Wendell Berry). Only in a small town located in a small county could you find a piano teacher, a church organist, and a teenager sharing the performance hall with a professional opera singer and a renowned author.
My hat is off to the talented people of our county, to Martha Tarry Simpson for taking the initiative which led to the showcasing of that talent, and to the Eminence Christian Church for hosting the program and reception.
Pastor, Eminence Baptist Church