Apr07

Pastor Profile: Pastor Larry Dove

Pastor Larry DoveChurch: Park Hills Community Church
Hometown: Los Angeles
Schooling: Business Administration with a concentration on computer science at Cal State Dominguez Hills; MA from Fuller University
Family: married to first lady Yolanda Renee; father of two
Website: www.parkhillsrca.org

Q: After thirteen years of ministering in Paramount, CA, how did you come to be senior pastor at Park Hills?
A:
In 2010 there was a restlessness stirring inside me. I knew God was preparing myself, and my wife, for an upcoming change. In 2011, the former pastor of Park Hills, Rev. Richard Horton died of cancer. The church began an immediate search for a replacement. In the interim, I was invited to preach at Park Hills. After preaching a second time, I received an email asking if I would be interested in vying for the open pastoral position. I decided this opportunity might be of God so I submitted my resume assuming they would choose someone younger than myself (I was 61 years old). After a couple of interviews, to my surprise they informed me I was the candidate. I said yes to the call and was officially ordained as Pastor of Park Hills Community Church on July 15, 2012.

Q: When did you recieve the call to preach?
A:
I went to Crenshaw Christian Center for about three years. My wife went to another church, which was pastored by her mother until I was led by God to start attending the church my wife attended. While I was there, I ‘instantly’ became a deacon. It was a small church. After a year they nominated me to become the assistant pastor of the church of Holy Temple Mission. That started me on my growth in ministry. I stayed there for about 15 years.

My road to full time ministry is kind of an unusual twist. We were living in Long Beach at that time and I started attending a predominantly white church nearby my house called Emanuel Church in Paramount—mainly because I was looking for a challenge and I really wanted to jump into full time ministry. So I would go to their 9am service and jump into my car and head to my service at 11:30am. At first I felt out of place, primarily because I was one of five African Americans that attended the church.

But I toughed it out and one day the lead pastor asked me to start a service at Emanuel Church, which became the Noon Service. It was the flagship for diversity to become a reality at Emanuel—not only for more African Americans, but Hispanics and a few Asians joined. It grew by leaps and bounds. About two years into it, the lead pastor asked me to leave my job and become full time at Emmanuel.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in ministry?
A:
It was not an easy decision to leave Holy Temple but my wife’s mother, who pastored the church, knew that I needed a change and a challenge. She went with me to Emanuel a few times and one day she told me “I understand God is calling you, but why do you have to go to a white church?” She stayed on in her church for about thirteen more months and then eventually came over to Emanuel.

When I first arrived 95% of the members were white. By the time I left it was 65% white, 20% Latino and 15% black. There were struggles along the way just having to deal with people’s prejudices, biases and attitudes. The most difficult thing was gaining the people’s respect as a full time minister there. I had to earn that respect, it wasn't given to me.

Q: What kind of childhood did you have?
A:
There was a lot of love, happiness and joy, but, also, because of alcoholism, there was a lot of pain and a lot of brokenness. It was both sides of the spectrum. My father, shortly after he got out of the army, brought with him an addiction to alcohol. When life got really hard for him, he went straight to the bottle. My parents were separated three times during my childhood. When he went on a drinking binge, my mother had to leave him in order for him to come back to himself. And then he would send for us or come back to us and we’d be a family again. On the third time the separation became permanent. By that time I was a teenager about to enter into college.

Q: When did you come to know God?
A:
I met my wife in 1975 on the college campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. When I met her she was a Christian, but I was not. However, we hit it off really well and went on a date. Later, she invited me to Crenshaw Christian Center for Bible study. I went and listened and I liked what I heard. That evening I was alone and contemplating on the Bible study and made a commitment to God that I would give him eight weeks of my life. I wanted him to transform my life or at least make himself known in a very tangible way. And by His grace He did. He not only saved me, but delivered me from a few sinful habits within the next few months.

Q: What is your preaching style?
A:
I try to be very pragmatic. Because I want people to get the gospel, I don't want to preach at them. I don't want to preach to them. I want to engage them. The Bible says He gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers. So I’m a teacher of the gospel. I love showing scripture, using stories, analogies. I want to paint a picture in the people’s head of the application. If they can walk out of there with that picture painted in their head then I believe that will stay with them much longer than just throwing scripture or theological terms at them. I’ve only been there about eighteen months but I really do believe they are appreciative of my style.

Mar03

pastor profile: Pastor Anthony Dockery

Anthony DockeryQ: Did you always know that you were going to be a pastor?

A: It’s definitely not something I always knew. I can’t even say it’s something I really wanted. I love people and I love being able to serve, but I wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it—and the way I wanted to do it was in the flying world.
My father is an air traffic controller so as a child I remember being in the tower and seeing a plane go by and thinking I want to do that. I became a pilot for the Air Force and I’d just gotten hired by American Airlines—when Pastor [E.W.] McCall said ‘No, I want you to be my successor here,’ and I thought no, I have plans.

Q: Did he know something you didn’t?

A: He did see something in me from the beginning.

Q: Did he tell you?

A: Not early on, but later on he did. He said, ‘You know I may retire,’ and I said well when you retire, that’ll probably be close to when I’ll be going to the airlines and I’m gonna make my switch. And he said, ‘No, you’re going to retire from the military and come here as the senior pastor.’
Was he grooming you?

That was his plan, yes. St. Stephens is extremely unique. We have a large congregation of about 3500 members, but we have a very small full time staff. He’d never hired a full time minister prior to me and he was here 37 years so it was all on him. However, he is the best at orchestrating lay leadership. So we had members who gave three, four days a week without batting an eye.

I was the first person he brought on staff as a minister and we used to call ourselves Batman and Robin. He is a father, a best friend, a boss, a mentor and a confidante.

Q: Your church puts almost as much emphasis on Sunday school as service?

A: We have a huge Sunday school—about 900 people every week—for everyone. And that’s really our hub. Pastor McCall used to have a cliché we still hold on to, —that Sunday school makes church folks Christians. So our Sunday school has been our flagship from birth.

Q: Pastor McCall was sure of you as senior pastor, when did you become sure that this was the right move for you?

A: I remember the exact day. It was December 31st of 2008. When the Lord gave the vision of the church moving forward. That’s when I knew, this is it! Because I was executive pastor all of 2007 and so everybody’s like okay we know what’s going to happen and they’re trying to kind of push you forward and find out what’re you gonna do, and I said, I’m not even thinking about what we’re gonna do—we have a pastor right now. I’m not trying to have a vision. I’m not trying to see what we’re going to do. Right now I’m executive pastor and I’m following a vision that we have.

But as soon as Pastor McCall passed the baton—and we did it out in front of the congregation—it was like the floodgates opened. I tell other minsters this as well—it wasn’t a moment before, it wasn’t years before, it wasn’t days before; it didn’t happen until that moment of moving forward that the vision and illumination came.

Q: What are differences in style between you and your predecessor?

A: In a lot of ways other than age, we’re very similar. Pastor McCall, he knows how to drop the hammer if there needs to be a hammer dropped. I consider myself like a velvet hammer. I am smoother, more easygoing than Pastor McCall. We’re both expository Bible preachers, so we’re going to walk through a test and make it applicable to you. Not fire and brimstone, just contextual. Every month we have a theme. This month we’re transitioning into kindness. So we’ll preach on kindness. So people learn kindness.

Q: What have been the challenges over the last six years?

A: You have some members who literally want everything to change and then you have some members that want nothing to change. It’s knowing what to do and when, but also how to implement change in a way that’s not distracting.

Q: How important is it for you to have a voice in what goes on outside of the church’s four walls?

A: A lot of pastors would shy away from controversy, but we have to keep our voice and deal with hot button social issues. We can’t be silent on homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia—all these different things we can’t fall silent on. We have to be proactive in missions—global missions and local missions as well. It’s easy to get passive and focus in on our own congregation only, but we have to reach out.

We actually celebrate lent, which a lot of Baptist churches don’t, but Ash Wednesday is the biggest Wednesday service we have the whole year and we make covenants and commitments together as a church, about what we’re gonna do.

Q: What is the biggest joy for you?

A: It’s that “ah ha” moment when someone gets it—someone gets saved—when you can help somebody to transition, to transform, renew, or to forgive. Unfortunately, you see more of the downside because that’s when people call you the most. So you probably don’t get it as much as you want, but there’s enough.

God allows some to plant and some to water, but it’s Him that gives the increase. I tell our leaders that you may never see the increase, but we got to keep planting and watering, so I don’t allow the increase to be my motivation. I like to see it but I don’t need it. You just kind of do what you’ve got to do and let God do his part.

Feb05

Pastor Profile: Bishop Clarence McClendon

Church: Full Harvest International Church (South Bay)
Hometown: Decatur, Illinois
Family: Wife, Priscilla, father of four
Broadcast: Founder/president of Clarence E. McClendon Ministries (CEMM), which sponsors the weekly international TV broadcast ‘A Miracle for You’; also in the cast of “Preachers of L.A.”
Website: www.bishopmcclendon.com

Q: You’re gearing up for your “Spirit of Prophecy” Conference later this month—what do you hope to accomplish with it?
A: The prophecy convention is one of three annual conventions we do every year. The theme of Spirit of Prophecy is taken from Revelations 19:10, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

What that verse actually means in the original language is the evidence that Jesus is alive and with us is what the spirit of God continues to reveal Him to us in fresh ways that are related to our time.

People hear the term ‘spirit of prophecy’ and they think Armageddon. No, this is the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the church—the spirit of God revealing to the church the Lord is saying now for this time in this season, and we believe each year there is something schematic that God is emphasizing to his body and we have a part to play in that.

What’s great about the convention is the time that we are ministering and establishing those connected to this audience to what we believe the spirit of the Lord is saying to the church.

Q: People still remember your Harvest Fire Crusades, will you bringing that back or is this conference a progression of that event?
A: Harvest Fire served its purpose in its day. We are doing another conference in August, which will be held in Atlanta, as the modern incarnation of Harvest Fire— that’s our major conference of the year.

Harvest Fire was a long time ago. People were still doing 7-8 day meetings at the time. Those days are over unless the Holy Ghost extends the meetings past three days and of course, we’re certainly open to that.

Q: You’ve said you knew at seven that you were called to preach, what made you so sure?
A: I heard the voice of the spirit of the Lord call me. I went to my father, a pastor, and asked him how do you know if God is calling you to preach and he said, “You’ll know if it stays with you. It never leaves you.”

Some people hear an audible voice. Some people have the spirit of the Lord reveal something to them. Some people are saved and just go for it. But if you’re called of God, I believe there is a significant moment when you recognize that. I received the call from God at seven. I knew beyond the shadow of any doubt I was called at eleven.

Q: How have you changed in the years since you’ve come to Los Angeles?
A: My vision has always been global. There has always been a tremendous evangelistic worldwide thrust to the vision God committed to my care. Coming to Los Angeles confirmed it and expanded the vision in me for a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church and ministry.

At that time there was over a 110 or so languages in the Los Angeles area and I recognized that God literally brought the world to Los Angeles.

To have an effective ministry in Los Angeles, I believe, at least for me, my ministry had to cross culture. That is one of the most significant impacts L.A. has had in my ministry and in me,— a need for a cross culture and multi-ethnic community.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for Clarence McClendon today?
A: One of the biggest challenges is assisting people in recognizing that the church at large is shifting in its paradigm. We are in the mist right now of a global charismatic and Pentecostal reformation that is no less significant than when Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety-Five Theses” [centering on practices relative to baptism and absolution in Catholicism] to the church door. There is a fuller disclosure of the revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. The greater challenge is helping people move into what Jesus is saying to his church and releasing the performance based Christianity of yesteryear.

Q: Are you on track with your goals?
A: I believe I am. We’ve had to spend a number of years laying an Apostolic foundation for a fresh move of the spirit of grace. One of the things I believe enabled us to function in our first incarnation in Los Angeles, the way we did as quickly as we did, is that we were building on someone else’s foundation—the foundation was already laid there.

When I moved I had to lay my own foundation and that has taken some time, but I believe that we are on track. And I’m certain than in the next several months that people will recognize how global our outreach has become.

Q: What kind of preacher would you characterize yourself as?
A: I am a prophetic revelatory preacher.

Q: What do you believe the future holds for you and Full Harvest?
A: Stay tuned. By April or May of this year people will be seeing a full manifestation of what we believe the Spirit of the Lord is directing us to do. Here and elsewhere. We just opened a global ministry office in London that will be assisting us in our ministry to the U.K and even Africa. We are looking at facilities in the rest of the continent. There are some very interesting things that are happening right now.

Q: What would the teenager you were when you and your brother crusading around the country preaching think of the man you’ve become?
A: That young man would be absolutely amazed at what Jesus is actually able to do with a life that simply desires to say yes. He’d be amazed, not surprised, because even the good is so much better than I anticipated and the challenges are also so much harder.

Q: What is your biggest joy these days?
A: Seeing my youngest son, Seth, have love and adoration for the things of God.

Q: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?
A: Is that I am in still in love with Jesus of Nazareth.

Jan07

Pastor Profile: Austin Avery • Total Deliverance Church

Pastor_Avery_AustinHometown: Littlerock, Arkansas; raised in South Central L.A.
Church: Total Deliverance Church of Lancaster; the fastest growing church in the Antelope Valley with 1,500 members
Education: BA at Faculty Theological Seminary of Montebello, & attended Southern California School of Ministry.
Married: To First Lady Shannon; father of three
Website: www.totaldeliverance.com

Q: When did you first receive the call to preach?
A:
I was called to preach in October of ‘93. I had officially joined a church; I had just come off the streets.

I used to be one of the biggest drug dealers in California. I was gang banging and everything, but I had joined the military, because I’d been looking for a way out so I began to go to church and to really seek God for truth because I knew I didn’t want to be that old person anymore.

My mother was a crackhead and my father had somewhat abandoned us in my mind when he moved to a whole different state. Plus I had two younger brothers to look out for so I had to do what I needed to, to survive, but I had a praying grandmother. I joined the military and got hooked in with the Islamic faith, but I still had that empty void like I was always incomplete.

My cousin invited me to church back in ‘92 and I ended up getting saved right around in November, and then a year later I was seeking the faith of God and right around October ‘93, the Lord called me to the ministry. I became ordained in 1998.

Q: Those are some big challenges to overcome.

A: It’s amazing to me. It’s nothing that I did, so I take no credit for it. God has been very gracious to me. I survived a whole lot of things that I should not be here to even testify about, but by the grace of God I’m still here.

When God called me to pastor in 2000, I didn’t want to pastor. But when I asked him, “Are you calling me to pastor?,” I just needed my assigned territory. That’s when He gave me the Antelope Valley.

I was a little nervous. I didn’t know where Lancaster was. I had to look it up. Once I looked it up, I found out the racial history of Lancaster and learned it was the headquarters for the Skinheads. But I was determined to obey. The only challenge ended up being getting qualified personnel as the church grew.

Q: What would you say your preaching style is like?

A: I have more of a expository style of preaching that’s the kind of style that I do, I am a teacher preacher or a preacher teacher, I’m really uncut—like this is how it is, right up in your face. The young people say “I keep it one hundred.” I’m very transparent. I belive in just being open and honest and that’s how I preach.

Q: What are your strengths as a pastor?

A: My transparency, because I believe that people are churched out. They’re preached out and I believe they are seeking some type of realness. And when they can see that you are transparent, and that you’re trying to do the best with what you have, and you answer to God, it encourages them to do likewise.

Q: Would the people you went to high school with be surprised at the man you become today?

A: Amazed. It ‘s funny you should ask that because I recently came across two or three individuals who moved out here after high school. I hadn’t seen them in over twenty years and they just happen to be driving down the street and see the church sign with my name on it. They came in to see if it was the same guy, and when they see me they are absolutely amazed. They cannot believe it. They figured I’d be dead or in jail by now.

Q: What are the rewards of the ministry?

A: When I see hope come into the lives of hopeless individuals and when I see that sparkle of “maybe I can make it,” especially when they’ve been so beat up by life. A lot of them come in because they are like me—looking for a way out. But they just didn’t know how to get out.

The Lord has really blessed us to be a transformation station and we’ve been transforming lives, so when I see someone who’s just totally turned their life around, that is the greatest reward for me. It can’t get any better than that.

Dec04

Pastor Profile: Rev. Rethis Murry • St. Mark AME

Rev_Rethis_M_MurryChurch: St. Mark AME
Hometown: Los Angeles
Education: B.A. from CSULB; University of Phoenix; just enrolled in Omega Bible Institute & Seminary in Louisiana for MA of divinity.
Married: to first lady Eva.
Children: Proud father of Todd Howard Jr., 27, who runs their day care; Mia Murry, 22, who attends Gremlins State University; & Justin Murry, 21, a sophomore at American University in Washington DC

Q: St. Mark is your first senior pastoral assignment—how did that come to pass?
A: I guess it was just my time. Some people were very instrumental in helping me finally get an appointment: Dr. Allen Williams, senior pastor of First AME Pasadena; Rev. John Cager, pastor of Second AME church; and of course my mentor, Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray. I still talk to him on a weekly, if not daily basis, and any kind of issues I have, he’s my rock. No one achieves anything without the help of somebody else. We have a lot of preachers and only 50 churches in this area. So when Rev. T. Larry Kirkland called my name I just sat there.

Q: What have been the challenges?
A: I didn’t know what I was getting into when I got there. The person who opened up the door told me I had eleven members but eight of them were resigning. “Nothing personal, they don’t even know you, but they’re moving on.” I thought man, God has a sense of humor, because it’s like, “this is what you wanted, this is what you worked hard for.” The place was in disarray. It didn't look like I thought a church should look like. And I’m not going to lie, my first day I cried because I love God so much. I called my wife and she came; we looked at each other and gave each other a high five and said “we got this.”

We went through all our contacts and Aundrae Russell from KJLH helped by getting it on the radio. I had about 60 people come that Sunday and 16 people joined. And those 16 people are still with us today as I go into my second year. We have about 80-90 young people and 225 members total. It's a good mixture of people. Very diverse: White, Hispanic and Black.

Q: You grew up the son of a legendary singer—what was that like?
A: My mom is one of the original Clara Ward singers, Vermettya Royster. Her history speaks for itself. She used to hang out with Tina Turner, Ray Charles, opened up for the Jackson 5. Not too many kids can say they were able to hang at the Jacksons or be around Diana Ross.

But it was lonely. She had to leave me with my grandmother and my aunt, which was the best thing. They did a good job in making me feel like the sixth child. They were my brothers. I called my aunt momma. I called my mother mimi. To see my mother I would have to wait and look at her on TV on Johnny Carson, the Grammys. I went one whole year without seeing her. That was hard.

When she got re-married she was in Jet magazine. It was a big issue because she was with the Sister’s Love at the time and had the No. 2 song “Are You Lonely.” I would walk to school and hear the song from different cars. I never lived with my mom but if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. I never wanted my mother to feel that she had to stop her career, so I just endured.

How many people can say they played basketball with Jermaine and Tito in Encino? Tina Turner would always come to my house when my mom was there. On 85th and Central where nobody would go. That's how I saw my mom, her stage presence. I love her dearly.

Q: What about your dad?
A: I didn't meet my dad until I was 22. He was in the military and they never let me know until I started asking questions. They told me where he lived and I went to see him. To this day my dad and I have a good relationship.

Q: When did you know you would be a preacher?
A: I grew up with five cousins. We had a garage I used to go in and organize and from age six up to nine years old I used to preach to the furniture. They used to always tell my grandmother “he’s in the backyard playing.” She said, “don't play with the Lord,” and I said, “I’m not playing.”

God was always in the house. Sunday morning everybody got up we had to go to church, it wasn’t an option.

I got baptized when I was 16. At that time I had a huge afro and I didn't even have a change of clothes. No one told me what was going to happen I just went on my own and they put me in that water. But I got discouraged because this lady told me—and that's why you have to be careful what you tell young people—“No, you didn't come up speaking in tongues. This didn't really work you’re going to have to attend these classes.” She vexed my spirit. So for about three to four years I just stayed away from the church until I went to First AME when pastor “Chip” Murray had just gotten there.

Q. When did you accept your calling to the ministry?
A: I accepted my calling while I was at First AME. It was something I did not want to do. But no matter what I did I heard “I need you to preach.” Then came the confirmation. I walked into Pastor Murray’s office and he said “I see a calling on your life.” He didn't even know me at the time. He went into his file cabinet. He had a list of individuals that God gave him through prayer that were going to get into ministry. I hadn’t even had a one on one with this pastor but my name was on the list. But I still didn't jump in. It took me at least nine years.

Q: What is the greatest lesson you learned as a pastor?
A: Another thing I learned through Pastor Murray is you have to be there yourself. You have to care enough to be there. One of the Hispanic families was going through court issues and I was there every step of the way. The only black person but I was there. I just love people. I care about people. It doesn't matter whether you look like me or not. We rent the church out to a Hispanic congregation. But I don't treat them as tenant, they’re family. And in return they’ve helped beautify the church. Church has to be more about family. I could turn it into strictly business, but would God be pleased? So we celebrate the differences.

Nov06

Pastor Profile: Pastor Don Herron

Church: Kingdom Seekers Prophetic Ministries
Education: Texas Southern University; L.A. Trade Tech
Status: Single father of one

Q: When did you receive the calling?
A: Strangely enough, I was already a preacher. I had already accepted my calling as a pastor for about ten years, and I got a second calling from the Lord. I had never heard of a second call because nobody preached on a second call. But the second call was to be a prophet as well as a pastor. I was in school teaching classes. I was trying to put a kids show together. I heard a voice say, “Start the church.” So when I went to name the ministry, I was going to name the church a basic name like Baptist, Methodist Church of God in Christ or a non-denomination. Then the Lord said to me at that moment, He said call it “Prophetic.”  The first calling was a pastor; the second calling was a prophet.

By the second time I didn’t run from the call. It’s like Jonah, Jonah wasn’t running from his calling, he ran from his assignment. See the difference? He ran from the assignment, like your job has an assignment you don’t wanna do the assignment but you got the job. I already was a pastor/preacher in the sense that I accepted call number one, but the assignment to be a prophet, I wasn’t trying to hear that. So I was running from the assignment.

Q: When did you start Kingdom Seekers Prophetic Ministries?
A: I started the church in February of 2012. The process of building the church was very difficult because I had no real following of people. I walked into an empty church and just prayed over the place. And everybody who said they were coming—nobody showed up. He said, “Go back again.” Then the people showed up the second time and I’ve been there ever since. But it was embarrassing. I walked into an empty room, but I was obedient.

Q: What is the major difference between a pastor and a prophet?
A: Pastors want to bless and tell you good things and everything is going to be alright and don’t worry; your blessing is around the corner. We don’t say that. We tell you what’s going to go wrong. But prophets give you a choice, believe it or not. That’s the difference right there. And we’re rejected people.

Q: What is your approach to preaching?
A: My approach is what they call Eschatology—the end times.  We’re living in an age of the end times. That’s another reason people are falling away from the church because the word of God says it would be so.

The signs are happening all around us right now.  But again people fall away from church because nobody’s speaking on that especially in the black church. They’re teaching what they feel and dissertations and dissecting, studies, but they’re not saying this is so. I am a person who understands the times that we’re living in. I understand when the nation is headed for trouble and nobody’s saying anything.

The days of prosperity were the days before now. Money is not increasing. It’s decreasing. God has seasons, seasons of prosperity messages are ending and the days of the prophecies to tell you now is beginning. Prosperity messages are coming to an end. Now people want to know well where do we go from here, that’s when your prophets come in, that’s why prophets are here to guide the people through the last days.

Q: What is your challenge?
A: For people to hear me and believe. I have the same challenges the old prophets had in the Old Testament. When you speak, nobody believes you. My heart hurts when people don’t believe. When they tell me, “That’s not going to happen!” They believe more in their personal lives. And now I have offended them because I didn’t say what they wanted me to say. That’s my challenges because they are adults, they’re grown, they’ve been to church all their lives, and my message is not matching. But I’d rather take the rejection and the words, in order to be publically heard by everyone, so that the church grows.

People are hungry now for prophecy.  They want know what’s happening in the world, what’s going on with the president, and what do we do? They don’t want to just hear it’s going be an OK day.  So the answer is just simply to seek out those who have a word from God in regards to the days we’re living in. Certain prophecies are fulfilled to let us know that the church is in trouble; the church’s days are numbered. The church is going to go through an hour when they’re going be rejected by the world, that’s about to happen.

Q: What were you like as a child?
A: I was a very God-fearing kid and very gifted, in many things: singing, writing music, things like that; I could do all of those things. I was not a troubled kid, I didn’t get spankings and whippings, that didn’t even happen. I was a very obedient person. I had a great childhood. My father was a pastor. I was the last of eighteen kids. And I was the only boy that answered the call out of eighteen.

First Ladies High Tea
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