George Smith: Five of a kind for the Chandlers
Apr 20, 2013 | 5858 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gordon Chandler
Gordon Chandler
slideshow
A CORNERSTONE at my church reads:

Blue Mountain Baptist Church

Established 1903

Erected 1962

Rev. Gordon Chandler, pastor

We are two things, a “mill village” church where a mill no longer exists and a church dying toward the finish line.

It wasn’t always so.

The current sanctuary was built in 1962, replacing an aging white frame that had not kept pace with a growing congregation. In fact, this week I ran across a “team” picture of the congregation. The front steps, almost as wide as the sanctuary, are packed. It is remarkable at the young kids in the photo.

My baby brother, the Rev. William Terry Smith, was the pastor.

Somewhere it began to change and I remember a “homecoming” celebration, I think along about 2003, former members near packing the 300-capacity sanctuary.

From a column I wrote:

“Sunday morning something strange happened at Blue Mountain Baptist Church . . . a baby cried.”

With that said, meet “Samford Family.”

That is the heading on Samford University’s quarterly magazine Seasons. Written by a Mary Wimberley. “Samford Family” is a wonderful story about Rev. Chandler, our pastor for 22 years, of his and Kathleen Chandler’s five sons.

The sons are Harold, Charles, Glenn, Jerry, and Gerald.

I knew a tiny bit of the story, but mostly what you’re reading this morning comes from the magazine.

The story is a remarkable one.

All five of the Chandler sons attended Samford, all hold doctorate degrees in some field.

Harold followed his father into the ministry and has been a member of Samford’s Board of Ministerial Mentors.

Charles also followed his dad into the ministry. Holder of three degrees, has been a pastor in Kentucky, Virginia, and

Illinois.

Glenn served as a church music minister, then got his Ph.D. at Indiana University. He taught early on before becoming director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music.

Gerald took to the business world, earning a doctor of business administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Jerry opted for music early on, then turned to med school. He is now a cardiologist at Cardiovascular Associates in Birmingham.

He still has roots here. He married Vickie Minshew, daughter of a Blue Mountain deacon.

But the story of their father is even more remarkable . . . and is a story I didn’t know until I read the story in Seasons.

He quit school during the Great Depression, but at age 31 sold a small farm and garage and went back to school. He graduated from high school in 1946, went to Howard University (now Samford).

In addition to serving as our pastor for 22 years, he led several other churches and was director of missions for two associations, Calhoun County and Bessemer.

He died Oct. 9, 1998. His funeral was held at:

Blue Mountain Baptist Church

Established 1903

Erected 1962

Rev. Gordon Chandler, pastor

It is a wonderful story and what I’ve used here did come from the article by Mary Wimberley.

If you’d like to read the rest, google Samford University and find the story in Seasons.

Thanks for visiting.

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George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: gsmith731@gmail.com

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