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The true ‘Church Folks Revolution’

Beard

I read an article today by “TJ” of Church Folks Revolution, pimppreacher.com which he titled, “Dear Jim Crow I Think We Need You: What Happened to Black Preachers After 1965.”

“TJ” is an advocate…let me rephrase that. “TJ” is the only activist for social justice within the church that I know of, or ever have known directly. While I don’t agree with the wrath, anger, and searing harsh judgments that he passes on to all of us preachers…the brother has some very good intentions, and most times I agree with him. His site is a daily expose’ unfortunately (or fortunately) of the underbelly of the modern day church, and he always has his facts straight. I checked.

The Bishop’s daughter at 94

Bishop

Earlier this month, Ruth Mason Lewis made a rare social visit to the Germantown home of her cousin, Eugene Phillips, for what she knew would be an unforgettable celebration of his birthday. Imagine her delight and surprise when she made her way around the table and discovered that the cake actually said, “Happy Birthday Ruth.”

The evening was, indeed, memorable!

  • Written by Dr. Sybill C. Mitchell

Stevenson Clark challenges himself and succeeds in gospel music and radio

by Wiley Henry

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Stevenson Clark loves a challenge. He took the reigns of a fledgling Christian radio station in Southaven, Miss., retooled it to compete in the marketplace, and increased the ratings significantly after three months.

“I proved that I could do what I’d never done before,” said Clark, the general manager and program director at AM 1240 WAVN Radio. “People didn’t believe that I could to it.”

Clark was a neophyte in radio to some degree, but it didn’t take him long to adjust and learn everything that he needed to know about the business – including sales, administration and management. He even cut his teeth as an on-air personality from 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“I had no idea that I would be where I am today,” said Clark, 47, who first started with a 30-minute, three-day show on WAVN until Dr. George S. Flinn Jr., the sta- tion’s owner, offered him the management position in 2009. He has been at WAVN for 8 years now, 5 1⁄2 in his current position.

“I wear several hats,” Clark said, including those of a prolific songwriter, arranger and singer.

Clark started singing when he was 2 years old and dropped his first CD in the mar- ketplace when he was 5. “I still have a copy of the two songs,” he said, “‘I Believe There’s a Heaven Somewhere’ and ‘God is Able.’”

In 8th, the spritely youngster started playing the piano. Also during that time, he directed and taught adults vocal lessons. He is the oldest of the Rev. Denville and Verdie Clark’s six children, who blended their voices as “The Clark Family.”

Clark attended Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Miss., his hometown. He sang with the Hamilton High School Choir and, after graduating, received a scholarship to attend Ittawamba Junior College in Fulton, Miss.

Clark didn’t finish Itawamba. He had other plans, opting to sing instead with the renowned Grammy Award-winning Mississippi Mass Choir, one of the most suc- cessful traditional gospel choirs in the music industry.

“I sang my way through high school and college,” said Clark, who toured with the choir for five years. In 1993, he headed to Memphis and took jobs at Methodist Hospi- tal as a lab technician and at the Marriott Hotel as a server.

“After I arrived in Memphis, I furthered my singing in churches. It’s my life and I decided I’ d pursue it more,” said Clark, serving then as the minister of music for Mt. Ararat Baptist Church and the musical director for Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Clark eventually recorded his first cd in Memphis entitled “All the Praise.” A pro- moter in Italy heard the CD, and the group, Stevenson Clark and Friends, would cut a swath across Italy from 1996 to 2009 spreading the gospel through their music.

During his travels abroad, Clark was ascribed the moniker “The Little Prince of Gospel Music.” His second cd project, entitled “My God is Truly Blessing Me,” was recorded at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in 2000.

Clark has sung with gospel artists such as the late Frank Williams, Leann Fayne, Vickie Winans, Evelyn Turrentin-Agee, Lee Williams, and most recently on the CD of one of Memphis’s most reknown quartets, “The Mighty Kings of Harmony,” singing “I’m Not Tired Yet” and “Touch Me Lord.”

Broadcasting is now Clark’s portal through which his voice is heard. After assuming the duties as general manager and program director, he has pumped up WAVN to a level of respectability. The station is now ranked one of the Top 5 most-listened radio stations in the Memphis and the Mid-South area.

“I love the challenge,” he said, adding, “I want to eventually own my own FM gospel station and reach the top in my singing career. I want to record songs that will bless people in life and keep traditional gospel music alive.”

Fall Fest Saturday...

On Saturday, Oct. 11, from noon to 5 p.m., Stevenson Clark will present “Fall Fest” on the grounds of WAVN, 1336 Brookhaven Dr., Southaven, Miss. James Chambers, an on-air personality with WLOK Radio Station, and Telisa Franklin, senior servant of The Servant’s Circle in Memphis, will host the event.

The artists scheduled to perform are Preacher Man, Pam Armour and the Shop, Echo Aires, Memphis Teens with a Dream, the Cork Singers, Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis, Carla Tolbert Taylor, Melodic Truth, Supreme Harmonettes, Moments of Joy, Andrew Know, Miracle Temple Choir, and Stevenson Clark himself.

A Kidz Zone and lots of food will also be available. For more information, call 662-280-9599 or 662-280-9809.

  • Written by By Wiley Henry

Former lifestyle compels preacher to help troubled youth

Cobb

Charlotte Y. Cobb wasn’t always compelled to preach the gospel or steer youth away from the crime-ridden streets of Memphis. She also wasn’t always trying to arrest teen pregnancy, keep wayward youth in school, or intervene on their behalf to keep them out of gangs.

In fact, Cobb, who pastors the Cherokee Outreach Ministry Empowerment Center (COMEC) at 2218 Eldridge St. in the 38108 zip code area of North Memphis, is trying to make a difference in the lives of teenagers who remind her that she could’ve lost her life on the same streets, in the same zip code area, decades ago.

  • Written by Wiley Henry

Traditional gospel music keeps Billy Rivers and The Angelic Voices of Faith out front 35 years

choir
Community choirs come and go, but the Stellar Award nominated Billy Rivers and The Angelic Voices of Faith has been a mainstay in traditional gospel music. In fact the choir will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a reunion concert Sunday, Aug. 31st at Golden Gate Cathedral, 3240 James Rd. 
 
The doors will open at 6 p.m. The choir also will host a banquet gala Friday, Aug. 29th. The location hasn’t been announced by press-time.
  • Written by Wiley Henry

‘A heart for people’ inspires the Servant’s Circle

new ministry
“I have a heart for people and I’ve always been a servant of the community. I just want to see people have the best in life,” said Minister Telisa Franklin, senior servant of The Servant’s Circle, a newly formed ministry that Franklin started Aug. 2nd.
 
The Servant’s Circle is a non-traditional, non-denominational church that holds service on Saturdays in a building that Franklin has used as her place of business along a business strip at 2988 Old Austin Peay Hwy. Service starts at 6 p.m. each Saturday.
  • Written by Wiley Henry

Fullview Missionary Baptist church is on fire!

fullview
Fullview Missionary Baptist Church can now say goodbye to its $2.5 million mortgage, and it will be doing just that with the help of a few flames.
 
A mortgage-burning ceremony following the church’s 9 a.m. service is set for Sunday (July 6th) at the church at 7100 Memphis-Arlington Road in Bartlett.
 
The fact that the mortgage has been paid off within 10 years has Pastor Walter Peggs Sr. supremely grateful. 

Eugene Waller Scholarship Prayer Breakfast extols the virtues of faith

Waller1 600“Championing the Future Through Faith” was the theme for the Eugene Waller Scholarship Prayer Breakfast, which was held at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis last weekend. More than 300 guests gathered to pay homage to the late Rev. Eugene Waller, former pastor of Cummings Street Baptist Church, and the scholarship’s namesake.
 
The guests celebrated the legacy of Waller’s faith, scholarship, and service. The Rev. Bonnie Oliver-Brandon of Mt. Zion Baptist Church set the tone of the program by preparing the audience for the “auspicious, substantive, but brief” event. 
 
Minister Barbara Tolbert followed with the devotion/invocation, followed by the occasion by Waller’s granddaughters, Atty. Kristi Faulkner and Kimberli Waller. They shared their grandfather’s devotion to scholarship and his conviction that all people should prepare for their calling in life.