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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pentecostal Elders Record For You

After spending some time in the 80's and 90's, I am going back to the roots of United Pentecostal music with this marvelous gem from the 1950s.

Honestly, I am not sure when or where I got this album. This was one of the earliest records I found when I was thinking about starting this blog. (And this blog has been in the planning stages for quite some time.)

While this copy is in fairly clean condition, it is a bit scratchy. Still, it's in remarkable condition for a record that is nearly sixty years old.

Some of the information for the people involved is a bit of a challenge to find (and authenticate that they match the people on this record) today on the Internet due to the last names being used on many listings.  Yet, it's not impossible. For example, we have samples of the ministry of G.H. Hill and also Larry Hill and his wife on this record.

G.H. Hill pastored the Nettleton Pentecostal Church for 50 years in Nettleton, MS.  He retired in 1995.

In 1997, John Armistead of the Daily Journal of Tupelo, MS wrote

When he retired two years ago, the Rev. G. H. Hill had served as pastor of one church, the Nettleton Pentecostal Church, for 50 years. Now 84, Hill is curently pastor emeritus of the church.

“I’ve married as high as three generations,” Hill said. “It was all a blessing. A great blessing.”

Hill began preaching at 15, and for two years of his seven-decade ministry traveled with his pastor doing revivals. “Back then Pentecostals didn’t have too many churches. We just gathered the people where we could.” Before long, Hill was conducting revivals on his own.

In between meetings, he often returned to his home church in Bethel Springs, Tenn. On one such occasion, a woman preacher was conducting a revival at the church.

His wife of 63 years, Manie, remembers one particular night of that revival. “The preacher called him up onto the rostrum,” she said of Hill. “I sure didn’t know this was going to be my husband.”

They married. Both were 20.

“I took a church in Tupelo,” said Hill. “It was in the old ice plant on Elizabeth Street.”

Many of the congregation worked at the cotton mill. “When it went on strike, most of our members left,” he said. The church folded and Hill returned to the evangelism road, was pastor for a year of a church in Apopka, Fla., then began his ministry in the Amory-Nettleton area.

“They (Pentecostals) were all up and down these roads,” he said. “We preached in brush arbors and wherever we could.”

For a while, Hill was pastor of both the Amory church (where his son the Rev. Coy Hill is in his 30th year as pastor) and the Nettleton church. Then, he settled into his 50-year ministry at Nettleton.

“He never gave up preaching until his health completely failed him,” said another son, the Rev. Larry Hill, who recently became pastor of First Pentecostal Church in Tupelo after a 21-year pastorate at First Pentecostal Church in Booneville. “Dad just never would give up.”

What was the secret of his father’s staying-power at the Nettleton church? “Compassion and love,” said his son. “There might have been people that disagreed with Dad, but no one ever questioned that he loved them.”

Larry Hill recalls how important the people were to his father. “He was on call 24 hours a day. Many times if we were on vacation and somebody got seriously ill or died, we came home at once.”

The church and the town of Nettleton became like family to the Hills. “Both Dad and Mom emanated love,” Hill said. “God and God’s work were first place in Dad and Mom’s lives and they taught us that at an early age.”

The legacy of his preacher-father is a great source of strength. “I preach all over the nation, and I still get compared to my father,” Hill said. “That’s the highest compliment I could get.”

To have this record to share with their contribution to the Church and all the other singers, preachers, and choirs on this record brings me great joy. These songs and messages may sound dated but they are timeless all the same. Some of these sermon samples could be preached today and still be powerful and effective.

In my search for rare records from yesterday, I often search for genres and general terms online rather than by artists or album title. As a result, there are a handful of records I found that share the same cover art with other releases. Personally, I am fascinated by this. Is there another genre that has album covers that share the same album art across different releases and record labels? Why didn't these records have unique artwork for each release? Here is a collection of images of other records that share the same album art as this album (and, as far as I know, none of these records are United Pentecostal. If they are I could not find a reference to them being Pentecostal, so if you have information otherwise, let me know!)

You can download this treasure of the past here!

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