Kenny Bruce, pastor emeritus of Leawood East Baptist Church, Memphis, will write the Bible Studies for Life commentaries for the Baptist and Reflector during the Sept.-Nov. quarter. Bruce is a graduate of Mississipppi State University, Starkville, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, where he earned a master’s degree and a doctor of ministry degree. Before being called into the ministry, he attended law school for two years. He became pastor of Whitten Memorial Baptist Church in Memphis and served for seven years and as a church planter in Cordova for two years before accepting a pastorate in Alabama. He returned to Memphis in 2000 to become pastor of Leawood Baptist Church, Memphis. The church built a new church and Bruce became pastor of Leawood East. After serving as pastor of those two churches for 20 years, he retired in 2020. He is available for interim pastorates and supply preaching. Mike Dawson, who wrote during the previous quarter, will continue writing the Explore the Bible series.
Miller’s Cove Baptist Church, Walland, has called Brian Ailey as pastor. He formerly served as youth pastor at Laurel Bank Baptist Church, Friendsville.
Jefferson County Baptist Association has called John T. Pinkston as full time associational missionary. He is the former pastor of Buffalo Grove Baptist Church where he served for 29 years. Pinkston has served in the association for 38 years.
Oak Hill Baptist Church, Paris, recently called Larry Dukes as pastor.
East Athens Baptist Church, Athens, has called Brian Trapp as senior pastor.
First Baptist Church, Jackson, has called Ray Van Neste, dean and professor of biblical studies at Union University, as interim pastor. The church’s former pastor, Justin Wainscott, resigned in May to take a teaching position at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
Bill Choate, longtime minister of music in Tennessee, died Aug. 3 in Memphis. His son, Bill Choate, is the Baptist Collegiate Ministries director for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. The elder Choate served as minister of music at First Baptist Church, Sweetwater, First Baptist Church, Greeneville, Colonial Baptist Church, Memphis and First Baptist Church, Kingston, as well as churches in California, Texas and Missouri. He worked with Baptist convention state leaders to develop statewide handbell festivals and led in church music camps at Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center. Choate is survived by his wife of 66 years, Dorothy Lee Trotter Choate; four children (Bill Choate, Leslee O’Kelly, Kelley Aur and Carole Blankenship), six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Longtime Tennessee Baptist pastor Paul Woodford died Aug. 8 at the age of 90. The Tennessee native served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Ripley from 1972-81 and First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, from 1981 until his retirement in 1993. He is survived by his wife, Betty McCartney Woodford; a daughter, Pam Caron, and four grandchildren.
James C. Hutchings of Harrison died Aug. 10 at the age of 79. Hutchings was called to the pastoral ministry at the age of 16 and served several churches in Tennessee, including Ole Bethel Baptist Church, Doyle; Fall City Baptist Church, Rock Island; Bethel Hill Baptist Church, Centertown; Westside Baptist Church, McMinnville; Hickman Baptist Church, Hickman; Alder Branch Baptist Church, Sevierville; Prosperity Baptist Church, Auburntown; Hillcrest Baptist Church, Lebanon; New Bethel Baptist Church, Harrison; and New Liberty Baptist Church, Birchwood. He retired after 59 years as a pastor in 2019. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jane Hutchings; children Theresa Lewis and Mark Hutchings; and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Sixteen people from four churches were baptized July 25 during the Annual Lake Baptism Service in Nolachucky Baptist Association. Participating churches included Fairfield Baptist Church, Manley Baptist Church, Hillcrest Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church, Morristown.
Carson-Newman University, Jefferson City, recently broke ground for the Drama and Ted Russell Center, which will serve as the future hub for C-N’s health science programs and honors Drama Russell and her husband, Ted, a 1962 C-N alumnus and a 2010 recipient of an honorary doctorate of business administration. The state-of-the-art facility will consist of three levels spanning 48,000 square feet. The center will include additional classroom space, simulation labs, health assessment labs, general skills labs and more. The project is scheduled for completion in 2023.
Williams Chapel Baptist Church, Springfield, will celebrate its 135th homecoming on Sept. 26 with guest speaker, Jerry Heflin. A special offering for the church cemetery fund will be collected. Lunch and special music will follow the service.
Oakland Baptist Church, Springfield, will celebrate homecoming Aug. 29, beginning at 10:30 with a gospel concert featuring The Lesters from St. Louis, Mo. A luncheon will follow.
Woodcliff Baptist Church, Monterey, will have revival services Sept. 12-15 with guest evangelist Phil Glisson of Memphis.