Musicians who rent the recording studio at the music hall, along with advertising dollars for its new television presence, may provide an increased income stream for OFA ministries.
Thus far, OFA includes a men’s residential home in Nances Creek, a women and children’s residential home in Bonny Brook, a rescue ministry for Ukrainian orphans and former prisoners, and a variety of work opportunities for local OFA residents.
Last week, I sat down with the 67-year-old McLeod in OFA’s home-like office in East Jacksonville. He is a tender-hearted, grandfatherly man whose voice broke several times as he looked back over the ministry that he calls miraculous.
“We don’t know what we are doing,” he says of himself and his staff. Some people may take that comment wrong, but McLeod is referring to the unexpected, unplanned manner in which Our Father’s Arms has grown. He said he has simply prayed and daily followed God’s lead as OFA has grown.
The most visible aspect of the ministry is the Dugger Mountain Music Hall on Alabama 9 in Nances Creek, formerly Victory Baptist Church. It is five miles south of Piedmont. For the past several years, a crowd of about 80 gathered on the third Saturday of each month to hear musicians from throughout the Southeast. Members of the crowd placed donations into a bucket, which helped pay for the musicians’ travel expenses.
“It has become the high-profile of a low-profile ministry,” said McLeod, referring to the sequestered two homes for those in need.
The entertaining concerts at the music hall, and the quality of the recordings that have been produced there, have created positive change.
“There a buzz taking place in the music industry,” said McLeod.
Some time back, a television producer from Huntsville attended a concert at the music hall and liked what he heard. He told McLeod that the concerts should be recorded and aired. So, volunteers recorded, edited and began airing the shows. These activities attracted the attention of a national television based in Tampa, Fla., called The Walk. Recently, Alabama Public Television obtained the rights to air the concerts.
The backlog of filmed concerts has created a temporary need to halt the local concerts until post editing can be completed.
“We went from an audience of eighty to more than eighty million,” said McLeod. He also noted that the music hall has become a perfect audio/video place to film live concerts.
The concerts will be back, though, according to McLeod.
Local fans who are disappointed about the cessation of monthly concerts can still enjoy them in the future. They should visit the music hall’s website, www.duggermountainmusic.com, and keep a check on the calendar. Fans may learn of the concert dates, see who is performing, and reserve their seats.
In the meantime, McLeod said OFA’s vision to spread the gospel to as many people as possible continues. He appreciates the donations that have made the ministry a success thus far, especially those who have voluntarily labored for OFA. Also, he appreciates the unsolicited contributions that have come in, not only from local supporters but also from people in far-reaching places.
McLeod envisions the expansion of the television ministry, which will include a Christian cook show. Plans are also underway for OFA to develop an agricultural college for orphans in the Ukraine. The ministry hopes to provide even more jobs for those who in need of them.
“I’m humbled,” said McLeod. “The ministry has surpassed anything I could expect or think.”
After that comment, he broke into one of his characteristic, rhymed cadences that tell a story. This one is about himself, as he told of a minister who “a coat and tie never did fit.”
Contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.