Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barney Creek (Number Two)

Preparation for Church of God Delegates to Celebrate 125th Anniversary

William Wright (L) and Pastor Paul Fritts (R)
Our Pastor, Paul Fritts with William Wright at the Barney Creek site.  William had brought his BobCat to help make the ground more accessible to the delegates who were to visit the site from the International Church.  William’s family (his grandmother, Nannie Walker, and his parents, Howard and Bonita Wright) have been members of the Tellico Plains Church of God since its earliest years.  For all the work you did, Thank you William!  It was my privilege to be a part of this workday.

Pastor Paul Fritts (L) and Fred Brannen (R)
  One of my treasured memories is the day G.P. (Pinkney) Spurling took me to this site while I was pastor at Tellico Plains.  There were no buildings left but he did show me the cornerstones of the grist mill where the church first started and told me of his memories there as a small boy.  He related his memory of his father (R.G. Spurling) and grandfather (Richard Green Spurling) starting the church on the corn floor of the mill by pulling back feed sacks and sweeping the floor, arranging for the people to sit on the feed sacks.  Located here, 15 miles from the town of Tellico Plains, near Coker Creek, TN,  began a stream of Pentecostal believers that now reach around the world.
G.P. (Pinkney Spurling) and wife, Lucinda ca 1961
 The picture above of G.P. (Pinkney) Spurling and his wife, Lucinda was made about the time that I was appointed to pastor the Tellico Plains Church of God.  They were members of the church.  It was a privilege to know this man of God.  He and his wife paid their "tithes" every week.  As I remember, it was $1.00 each week for each of them.  I spent many happy hours visiting with and praying for them..

Frances and Fred Brannen (holding daughter Frankie) ca 1961

I was appointed to pastor this church at the young age of 22 years.  On March 1, 1961, I preached my first sermon as a pastor there.  I had been discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard for about one week.  Can you imagine?  What happy, happy memories of a great group of mountain folks who accepted us and worked with us to help us build a new church building.  Now-a-days, I am teaching a Sunday School class in this church.  These were/are wonderful people.

Barney Creek, Tennessee

The following story appeared on the web-site news of the Church of God, the organization that I have been a minister with for 51 years.

Church of God Delegates Celebrate 125th Anniversary
Tim Hill at left Preaching At Barney Creek

More than 150 gathered at four historic sites in Tennessee and North Carolina as the Church of God turned 125 on Friday, August 19, 2011.   The day was designed to mark the historic day with prayer and historical sketches at the remote locations of the beginnings of Church of God history. Among those participating was Dr. David Roebuck, director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center and Rev. Doug Small, liaison for prayer ministries in the Church of God and coordinator of the day-long event.  Other participants included Regional Overseer of western North Carolina Alton Bristow and Ronald Martin, overseer of Delmarva-D.C.

Starting at 9:00 a.m., a service was held at the site of the Barney Creek Meeting House where a handful of people met for the first time and launched the Christian Union, the forerunner of the Church of God. The site is marked with a small metal sign and an engraved plaque on the opposite side of the creek.
“From this small stream flows the river that became the Church of God we know and love today,” said Tim Hill, first assistant general overseer for the Church of God. “From that day 125 years ago the Church of God now reaches over 7 million members and adherents and is in 181 nations around the globe.”

After a time of prayer and singing the group caravanned to the site of the Shearer Schoolhouse, where the 1896 outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place. Several led in prayer and scripture, and others led a prayerful declaration. From the site the group also recognized the history of the first log meeting house where those who were persecuted gathered and worshipped until a band of rebels dismantled the building.

The celebration group then traveled a few miles to the First Assembly House where in 1906, twenty-one delegates gathered for what would be the first Church of God General Assembly. Events at that location last Friday included a lunch on the grounds, an outdoor singing, scripture and a final historical sketch delivered by Roebuck and Dr. James Beaty.

The final stop of the 125thcelebration took place at Fields of the Wood, not far from the first assembly house location, on the border with North Carolina and Tennessee. Here the delegates gathered under a pavilion not far from the site of the home place of W.F. Bryant where early church pioneers came together in 1902 to organize the Holiness Church at Camp Creek. A welcome to Fields of the Wood and scripture reading was given by Wade Patterson who oversees the well-known religious park for the Church of God of Prophecy. On behalf of the Church of God Executive Committee, chairman of the Historical Commission Floyd Carey presented a resolution to Rev. Paul Holt, who represented the leadership of the Church of God of Prophecy led by General Overseer Randy Howard. Carey read a resolution of Appreciation for a Common Heritage between the two movements.

Doug Small brought closing comments and a prayer to end the celebration. Special thanks goes to Small and his organization Project Pray which organized the event. To learn more or to download resources from the 125th celebration, visit projectpray.org or visit the Church of God Web site churchofgod.org.

Posted by: Faith News Staff

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Visit From Kathy

          Kathy Davis (Frances' Nairobi Daughter) has been here again!  This time she left husband Rob at home so she and "Mama Frankie" were at their leisure to do whatever their hearts desired.  It's amazing the differences between what the guys consider fun and what the girls consider fun.  These two worked themselves hard from daylight to well past dark every day for a week.  They shopped, they cooked, they painted, they made banana pudding, they preserved peaches, etc. and etc. until I thought they would drop from exhaustion.  But they were together, laughing and playing and both talking at the same time - and answering each other.  If I asked one of them a question both would answer me without realizing that the other one was talking.  Ha. 

Kathy Decorating The Guest Bath
After Painting - Up Goes A New Shower Curtain
After Shopping - Ready To Preserve Fruit

Thanks Kathy!  For being such a great friend.  You are truly "one of a kind"!

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton