- Dorothy Faye Harvey Beeler — 92, died Monday at her home in Oxford. Arrangements are incomplete with Waller Funeral Home of Oxford.
- Howard L. Davidson — 92, died Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at the Landmark Nursing Home in Booneville. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the chapel of Waller Funeral Home in Oxford. Burial will follow in St. Peters Cemetery in Oxford. Visitation will be held for two hours prior to the service at the funeral home.
- Mike Featherstone — 72, died Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Waller Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of arrangements.
- Burl J. Boykin — 73, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in Thibodaux. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Landry’s Funeral Home in Thibodaux, La. Cremation will follow services. Visitation will be held for an hour an a half prior to the service at the funeral home.
- Virginia Claudene Sartain Lenti — 68, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford. Services will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Water Valley. Burial will follow in Campground Cemetery. Visitation will be held for an hour and half prior to the service. Seven Oaks Funeral Home of Water Valley is in charge of the arrangements
- Edwina “Billie” Denley — 87, died Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, at Seasons Hospice House in Rochester, Minn. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in the chapel of Waller Funeral Home in Oxford. Burial will follow in Eastover Memorial Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
- Starla Joanna “Hannah” McGee-Egerson — 29, died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, at her residence in Water Valley. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at South Hopewell M.B. Church in Taylor. Burial will follow in Browning Cemetery in Oxford. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church in Taylor. Hodges-Freeman Funeral Home in Oxford is in charge of arrangements.
- Samuel R.D. Gipson — 32, died Wednesday in Hickory Flat. Arrangements are incomplete with Hodges-Freeman Funeral Home of Oxford.
- Renalda Joyce Townsend — 51, died Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, at her residence in Memphis. Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at East St. Peter M.B. Church in Abbeville. Burial will be in Oxford Memorial Cemetery. Kenneth I. Roberson Funeral Home of Pontotoc is in charge of the arrangements.
- Mary Lee “Cordie Mae” Vaughn — 78, died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, at Graceland Care Center in Oxford. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Philadelphia M.B. Church. Burial will follow in Philadelphia Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Philadelphia M.B. Church. Kenneth I. Roberson Funeral Home of Pontotoc is in charge of the arrangements.
- Robert Joseph Williams — died Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, in Dallas. A memorial graveside service will be held at a later date. Waller Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of local arrangements. For online condolences, visit www.wallerfuneralhome.com.
The congregations of First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church in Oxford are providing a path toward racial reconciliation for others in the region, state and nation to follow. (September 4, 2013, Page 14)
In the second and final installment of a two-part series about how two Oxford churches — one historically white, the other historically black — are reconciling the past through public apology and forgiveness, Second Baptist Church extends grace to First Baptist Church. (September 4, 2013, Page 1)
- Pamela Bolton — 47, died Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, at her home in Batesville. Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Shiloh Cemetery near Oxford. Visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 this evening at Dickins Funeral Home in Batesville.
- Ricky David Grissom — 56, died Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at Alliance Healthcare in Holly Springs. Services will be held at a later time to be determined. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford was in charge of local arrangements.
- Renalda Joyce Townsend — 51, formerly of Oxford, died Tuesday at her residence in Memphis. Arrangements are incomplete with Kenneth I. Roberson Funeral Home of Pontotoc.
Whereas, since our founding in 1842, First Baptist Church was established for the purpose of Gospel witness in this city, state, nation, and world to show the love of Christ to any and all (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:16-20). In many ways, we have fulfilled this purpose well, but we have often struggled on the issue of race; and
Whereas, the Scriptures clearly teach that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), come from the same parents (Acts 17:26), have equal worth and dignity before God (Acts 10:34-35), and are equally the objects of His love (John 3:16); and
Whereas, our congregation’s relationships with African-Americans have been marred from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; and
Whereas, in subsequent generations, we failed in many instances to support and, indeed, often opposed efforts to secure the civil rights of African-Americans; and
Whereas, such racism was often invoked under the supposed sanction of God Himself through the mishandling of His Holy Word and the perversion of His Gospel; and
Whereas, in April of 1968, our congregation voted in a duly-called business session of the entire church to exclude African-Americans from worship; and
Whereas, we continued into the mid-1970s to use this policy in official church business to guide our treatment of African-Americans, most notably by refusing to allow their children access to our bus (Mark 9:42) and by refusing to host a community-wide Day of Prayer in our sanctuary because African-Americans had been invited (1 Corinthians 10:32); and
Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention sought to take steps to address the egregious sin of racism by confessing it publicly and seeking the forgiveness of African-Americans in 1995; and
Whereas, that same year, First Baptist Church reached out to our African-American brothers and sisters at Second Baptist Church for a season of shared worship services and fellowship as part of a process of our changing views on race that had been developing since the mid-1970s as African-Americans began to attend and join our church; and
Whereas, we have been experiencing and obeying the correction and direction of the Spirit and the Word concerning race for many years and continue to grow as a place where all people are welcomed and loved regardless of race; and
Whereas, especially since 2011, we have been praying earnestly and examining ourselves as to unconfessed sin (Matthew 5:23-24, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, Psalm 66:18) desiring that God would bring revival to our families, church, city, state, and nation. We have asked that our collective sins not stand in the way of His restoring a right relationship with us (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Therefore, be it resolved, that the members of First Baptist Church, on July 21, 2013, unequivocally denounce racism in all its manifestations as sin against Almighty God. This repudiation of racism has been our attitude for decades, and we want to leave no doubt in the Oxford community; and
Be it further resolved, that we declare as utterly sinful the vote in April 1968 to exclude African-Americans from worship and the decisions that flowed from it. That time period in Oxford was extremely difficult, but with such difficulties in no way excuse what was done. Many were against those decisions at the time, but the will of the congregation was determined by a clear majority. Even though this happened years ago, we are one body, sharing in all things, even painful things (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). Therefore, on this day, we renounce and repent of those decisions with our whole heart. We seek the forgiveness of the Lord and of African-Americans who were and are still hurt by these things, and we hope they will extend such forgiveness to us (Psalm 51:9-13, James 5:16, 19-20). In addition to the sorrow we have caused, we acknowledge that our witness and our relationships with God and each other have been diminished greatly as a consequence of this sin of our past.
Be it further resolved, that we will seek opportunities for continued reconciliation with churches, leaders, and individuals in the African-American community, that we will support and encourage African-American sister congregations in our collective kingdom of work, and that we will strive to learn sustainable means of fellowship and mutual encouragement (Revelation 7:9-10).
Be it further resolved, that, because it is still the tendency in the Church-at-large to gather with those with whom we have the most affinity, our congregation will seek to discover how we can continue to grow as a place where people of all races are welcomed and included. We affirm that the New Testament teaches that the power of the Gospel is fully on display when every humanly constructed barrier comes down within local churches (Ephesians 2:14). We reject the idea that it is permissible for churches to ignore that calling on the basis of convenience or personal preferences (Romans 14:5-12).
Finally, be it resolved, that we will be a church that leads the way in calling this town, this state, and this nation away from its ugly past with regard to race, through a present experience of growing Gospel obedience, into the saving knowledge of Christ alone, and into a future where there is no division of any kind, but where we are one in Christ (Ephesians 2:15-22). (September 3, 2013)
In the first of a two-part series about how two Oxford churches — one historically white, the other historically black — are reconciling the past through public apology and forgiveness, today’s installment focuses on how the congregation of First Baptist Church confronted its past. To read the church’s recently adopted “Resolution on Reconciliation and Revival,” click on the “news” button above. (September 3, 2013, Page 1)
- Ricky David Grissom — 56, died Thursday, Sept. 29, 2013, at Alliance Healthcare in Holly Springs. Services will be held at a later time to be determined. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford was in charge of local arrangements.
- Lee Edgar Lambert — 75, died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, at Yalobusha General Hospital in Water Valley. Services will be held be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Coleman Funeral Home Chapel in Oxford.
- Timothy Charles “Tim” Shorter — died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Coleman Funeral Home Chapel in Oxford. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 this evening at the funeral home.