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.


jack69 said...

Oh my, what good memories. A great picture of the Spurlings, that one would be a treasure for sure. BUT for me What a great picture of the young Pastor with his beautiful wife and Frankie the daughter.

We will never forget stopping by to see you guys at Tellico Plains on our way to Missouri. Not knowing it would be many many years before we would spend time together again. You took off to Guyana and Africa and I joined the navy. Anyway it is good after 50 years to be back in touch again.
Love you guys, our love to FRances.
Sherry & jack

Dar said...

Fred, what a wonderful full life you and Frances have had devout to our God. You warm my heart.
Congratulations on the many, many years of service to your church. You are a true inspiration. No wonder you are always so full of cheer and nurturing.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH how special, Fred... You all have so many great memories in that church, don't you??? Love the picture of the two of you with your daughter...

George said...

This is a marvelous two-part report on the 125th-year celebration of the founding of the Church of God. I very much enjoyed reading about the beginnings of the church as well as the beginnings of your involvement as a pastor.

Ginny said...

Twenty two?? I don't think I have ever heard of a younger preacher. It was a blessing for you to be able to know this couple. Sitting on feed sacks, huh? Well around here, we had a church and gospel choir in a chicken coop, with a huge chicken statue out front. Though the huge and fancy churches are beautiful, inspiring, and I love to look at them, I sometimes wonder what Jesus would have to say about the grandeur. Maybe not to spend so much on grandiosity and give more to needy people! I can never quite feel myself amid all the pomp and ceremony.

Joyful said...

Precious memories and life long friendships. These help to make a wonderful life of service and love.

Fred Alton said...

Yes, Ginny, I think I remember reading a story about the Chicken House Church...altho I could have confused that with the story of my friend, Jack Darnell, who also pastored a church which used to be a chicken house...I think. LoL - What is this? the onset of altzheimer's? ☻ Anyway - I'm with you in not feeling comfortable in the pomp and circumstance of some worship services. It's o.k. for those who like it - but not for me.

Rosemary said...

There are no amount of profound words to describe the influence you and your ministry have had on my life. I so enjoy reading your blog and I am honored to call you friend, uncle and brother in the Lord. I have been more blessed by you and dear Francis than nearly anyone...probably the most by the influence on my dear husband that your lives had had on him. We are better people for knowing you both and you have set the standard high in ministry for us all. Thank you for giving your all for the cause of Christ. I love you.

A Primitive Homestead said...

Always good to hear a new church is being built. Doors opened to save the lost souls is a wonderful experience to be involved in. Prayers lifted. Blessings!

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