Tidbits - July 26 2018

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  For over 30 years, Dr. Wendell Estep of Columbia’s First Baptist Church has been my “second pastor.”
  With Emory’s services starting at 10:30, most Sunday’s I have been able to get home in time to hear at least a portion of Dr. Estep’s wonderful messages on TV.
  He is retiring and preached his final sermon at the church Sunday. This Methodist is sure going to miss him.
  Because of our sister church Nazareth’s annual Homecoming Sunday, Emory had worship service at 9:00 a.m. I was able to get home and watch the entire First Baptist telecast.
  Dr. Estep has always scattered his sermons with humor, and that’s why I have enjoyed him so.
  Sunday, he didn’t deliver a sermon. He talked about his years at the 6,000-member church, and the progress that had been made when the members were willing to go out in faith on many major projects.
  The late Gov. Robert McNair was a member of First Baptist, and one day he called Dr. Estep and said, “The Richland County Public Library building is coming up for sale. We need to buy it.”
  That followed an idea that if any building came open on the same block as the church, the church should buy it for future expansion.
  “That’s a good idea,” Dr. Estep said, “but how in the world are we going to afford it?”
  “That’s your problem,” Gov. McNair said.
  He said in retirement, he was going to help his son at his church in Blythewood.
  “I’ll also be going to a few USC games, and I better not catch any of y’all drinking!”
  That brought the house down.
  I posted a tribute to Dr. Estep on Facebook, and many commented on how much they enjoyed his sermons, when they were unable to attend their own church.
  Trey Fingerlin said his mom was looking forward to hearing his final sermon, but, sadly, she died Saturday.
  “I guess she got to watch it in God’s super HD!!,” Trey said.
  Yes, she did.
  Until I watched Sunday’s service, I had no idea the First Baptist service was also telecast in Greenville, Charleston, Augusta and Savannah.
  On any given Sunday, he said, between 75,000 and 100,000 people watch the telecast, so I guess Dr. Estep in the “second pastor” to  many.
  I’m happy when I can get home from church early enough to hear the magnificent First Baptist choir.
  They’ve “supplied” me with some beautiful songs that I have used in my capacity as Emory’s choir director.
  Their soloist become celebrities, I bet.
  During the two months we had to get our own speakers, after our Pastor Paul Cheezem died, one of the guests was a wonderful singer and speaker, Beth Greer.
  A few months later, when I watched the First Baptist Christmas program on TV, I saw that Beth was one of the featured performers. I knew when she sang at Emory I had seen her somewhere before!
  During the service, the congregation at First Baptist sang “It Is Well With My Soul,” one of my favorite hymns.
  My mother watches First Baptist and records Trenholm Road UMC’s service and watches it after First Baptist.
  While I was eating lunch, I heard “It Is Well With My Soul” again, only this time, it was the Trenholm Road choir singing it.
  Trenholm Road’s service isn’t live. It’s a recording of the service the week before.
  Last Sunday, the Emory Choir also sang “It Is Well With My Soul” for the anthem.
  Now, that could be quite a coincidence that the three services I see all or parts of each Sunday featured the same song on back to back weeks, but  maybe not.
  I’m sure First Baptist chose it, because it was a sad day, “when sorrows like sea billows roll. It is well with my soul.”
  If Trenholm Road’s pastor uses the Lectionary scripture, like our Pastor Ken Freeman uses, then last Sunday, one of the hymns the United Methodist Lectionary site recommended to go along with scripture lesson was “It Is Well With My Soul.”
  The choir director of Trenholm and I must think alike!
  The story behind the famous hymn is poignant.
  Horatio Spafford was a well to do Chicago lawyer. He and his family had planned a trip to Europe, but at the last minute something important came up with his job, so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead, and he would join then later.
  En route, the ship his family was on collided with another ship and sank. The four daughters drowned. Mrs. Spafford was rescued.
  Mr. Spafford, informed of the tragedy, caught a ship to join his wife and bring her home.
  When the ship he was on reached the spot where his daughters drowned, the captain pointed it out to Mr. Spafford.
  As the ship sailed to the spot, Mr. Spafford wrote:
  “When peace like a river, ascendeth my way.
  When sorrows like sea billows roll.
  Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
  It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
  This song is appropriate for the tragedy that happened in Branson last week.
  Imagine being on a vacation with  11 family members and nine of them drowning.
  We pray for them all, especially the mother who lost her children, husband, and five other relatives.


  Stephen White and I had a puzzling situation that concerned him when I wrote about President Johnson passing the Lower Richland stadium when I played junior high football. 
  I said the motorcade was traveling from Shaw Air Force, but Steve said it could have been traveling from McEntire Air Force National Guard Base.
  He made that statement, because he remembers when President Johnson flew into McEntire to attend the funeral of S.C. U.S. Senator Olin Johnson. Steve was stationed there then and served a member of the official guard for the president.
  Steve said this was in the spring of 1965.
  I looked it up, and Sen. Johnson died in April 1965, but we weren’t playing football in the spring, so why would LBJ come to Columbia in the fall of 1964?
  Well, it took some computer clicks, but the answer became obvious. LBJ was running for president against Barry Goldwater, and came to Columbia to campaign.
  The trip didn’t do him any good, because Goldwater carried S.C., but not many other states!
  I remember when Sen. Johnson died. Gov. Donald Russell appointed himself to the U.S. Senate, and the above mentioned Robert McNair was elevated to Governor from his Lt. Governor’s post.
  The people of this state weren’t real pleased with Russell appointing himself, and when it came time for him to run for the office, he lost to Ernest Hollings.


  I was surprised when my 1969 SHS classmate Cynthia Smith Forrest popped into the Sentinel office Monday morning. She was home visiting her mother Norma Barfield.
  Cynthia has been a “Yankee” for a long time, working as a professor and administrator at several colleges up north. She was wearing a Michigan T-shirt, who I reminded her, her alma mater Carolina defeated in a bowl this year. She knew.
  We walked across the street to get a picture made with our classmate, Brad Forrest. Brad, Cynthia and I began first grade together in Mrs. Annie Mae Riser’s class in 1957.
  Mrs. Riser was such an influence on Cynthia she wrote a paper on her first grade teacher,, when she was working on her Ph.D.
  She was an influence on my family, too, as Mrs. Riser also taught my Daddy Shake in the first grade at Emory.
  She sold our family a set of World Book encyclopedias (Yes, teachers had to supplement their meager incomes back then.)
  I set a goal as an eight-year-old to read every volume. I did it, or least skimmed them all. That’s why I’ve always been good at trivia.
  Brad, Cynthia and I were astounded when we figured up that we began first grade 61 years ago!
  I posted the picture of us on Facebook, and Dianne Mitchell Holcombe (Class of 68) commented that Cynthia had no gray hair, as she posed between two white hairs.
  Cynthia replied. “As my mother always said, a little paint makes you what you ain’t.”
  Cynthia’s father, Ivy Smith, was our principal when we started at Saluda Elementary.
  Along with being my principal, he also influenced me by being the public address announcer for Saluda High football games. One Friday night, he couldn’t be there, and Coach Bull Lee asked me to announce the Homecoming game when I was a junior in high school. The rest, as they say, is history.


  I was saddened at the passing of Mary Corley last week.
  She was Saluda County’s first female magistrate, and her family followed her lead in public service, including her late husband, Paul Corley, a former County Councilman; her daughter Gwen Shealy, a current council member, and another daughter, Christy Nichols, a current member of the school board.
  Mrs. Mary was known by many as a bailiff  for court sessions, and was a loyal member at Sardis Baptist Church.
  I’ll also miss seeing her in her regular seat at Punk’s.
  My sympathy to her daughters Gwen, Christy, her son Robert and their families and the family of her late daughter Paulette.
  She will be greatly missed.