Louise and I have been married 29 years and Louise will testify that it’s been the best 12 years of her life!
We are blessed to have three sons, Charlie and Matt Copeland and David Hudson. Charlie and Matt are sons from Louise’s previous marriage and David is the result of the marriage of Louise and myself. Thus, we are a family of five and the number of grandchildren currently stands at four.
Louise and I are both retired, free to follow migrating buffalo, explore the great Northeast Passage, or simply have an extra Danish with our morning coffee. God has blessed us.
Louise was a teacher in public education for 30 years in the local Iredell-Statesville school system --- loved the children and survived the politics. For 31 years I served the City of Statesville as Director of the Water and Wastewater Department and was mostly amused by politics. I also write a bi-weekly Sunday newspaper column in the Statesville Record & Landmark newspaper.
My column (A View From the Hudson) is in it’s 9th year of publication and described as humor and satire. I am also the author of “Big Decisions are Best Made with Hot Dogs”, a collection of stories about life, love, and growing up southern and Christian. The book is available in bookstores and Amazon.com.
I became a Christian at the age of 12 while watching a televised Billy Graham crusade. Dr. Graham caught my youthful attention as I was passing through our living room looking for a misplaced baseball glove. Louise accepted Christ at 16 years of age through the Methodist church and was later baptized in a local Baptist Church.
I served as a Youth Leader for 10 years in my home church, The Black Jack Original Free Will Baptist Church in Pitt county, North Carolina. I attended the Carolina Bible Institute in Pine Level, North Carolina and later served as pastor of the Sweet Gum Grove Free Will Baptist Church in Stokes, North Carolina. I have also served as deacon and Sunday School teacher at Oakdale Baptist Church before coming to Western Avenue.
Since coming to Western Avenue in 1999, I have served as a Sunday School teacher and substitute teacher for various classes. Louise and I are members of the Andy White Sunday School class and enjoy the class very much.
Why Western Avenue Baptist Church?
In 1999 we were looking for a church to resettle in and attended a service at Western Avenue. Skip Cartin captured our attention as he taught directly from the Bible, which impressed us greatly. We began to attend Western, tried out Andy White’s Sunday School class and decided to join the church. We’ve been in the class and church ever since.
Our decision to seek membership in Western Avenue was driven by a desire to hear the word of God preached from and according to, the Bible. We quickly realized sermons at Western Avenue, as well as policies and staff, were governed by scripture --- not social trends and political issues.
While Western Avenue offers the community wonderful blessings and ministries, one aspect stands out as particularly important to Louise and me: invitations are given for a person to accept Christ during a church service.
This has become rare, almost nonexistent, in many churches today that claim to follow the Bible. Western Avenue, through Jeff Spry, offers the gift of salvation to anyone willing to listen. We’re proud to belong to a church that does that.
Of special note is our pastor, Jeff Spry, and his preaching style.
I study the Bible and love commentary style preaching. I read Bible commentaries like some people read paperback novels. Commentary style preaching is rare these days as it requires study, prayer, and attention to detail, and must be delivered in a verbal style that holds a persons’ interest. Commentary preaching is not easy to do – its like explaining the technical manual for a rocket engine to a group of fifth graders and make it interesting. Not everyone can do it. However, Jeff Spry is specifically talented for this type of preaching. He’s a rare diamond in a world of gravel and dirt.
Louise and I appreciate many things about Western Avenue, not least is the hard work of the staff and the professionalism they constantly project. Western Avenue church services are wonderful for being a structured formal gathering yet wrapped in warmth and love as taught by our Lord. It’s a great place to get your spiritual batteries recharged.
We’re excited to be part of this church and as long as the Bible is taught and preached within it’s walls, and the gift of salvation is so freely and plainly offered, we hope to remain members and continue to grow in Christ.