Oral History Interview Dr. Charles T. Carter Shades Mountain Baptist ChurchDecember 9, 2013
EVAN MUSGRAVES: So I guess we can just start out with a little bit about your early life: when and where you wereborn and where you grew up.
CHARLES CARTER: I was born right here in Birmingham in the old South Highland[s]hospital [infirmary]. And my dad worked for the telephone company for 48 years so with the exception of a short two year venture to Atlanta where he was working with the phone company, all my growing up life was right here. I went to Barton Elementary School and I went to Phillips High School in downtown Birmingham. I actually was able to graduate in January and so I started at the old Howard College a week before I actually graduated from high school, so I went straight out of high school right out to Howard in January of 1953 and I went to summer school a couple of summers. I finished there in a little over three years. I finished there in August of '56.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What was your childhood like?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, I had a happy childhood. Very stable. A little bit of1:00interesting, in my spiritual pilgrimage, I don't have her picture here but I have it at home. A little girl lived across the street from us, Evan, who was 14 years old. Her name was Betty Jo Vaughn and, we were not going to church anywhere. My mother was [a] Christian but wasn't active in church. My dad was not a Christian. And she crossed the street and just asked my parents if she could take me to Sunday school. And so, they agreed and I started to going to--right here in town--to the Calvary Baptist Church in the north side of Birmingham. A real fine, not a large church but probably around 400 to 500 attendance. But she took me there and then my mother [started] going there. My dad did not at that time. But anyway, on August the 15th, 1943, a few months after she took me there--and all she did was take me there and get me in Sunday 2:00school and church and afterwards get me and bring me home. But I heard the Gospel, I understood what it meant to become a Christian and as a 7-and-a-half year-old boy, August 15, 1943, I went forward and made my profession of faith in Christ. In that church we had two worship services. The children went to worship and then went to Sunday school and the adults went to Sunday school, then went to church so we just flip-flopped. Unbeknowing to me and unbeknowing to her, the very same Sunday that I made my profession in the 9:30 service, my mother went forward in the 11:00 service and rededicated her life and moved her membership from the little country church where she had become a Christian down near Mobile. And that was an amazing thing, and I can remember so well that the first thing I wanted to do was tell my daddy who I loved dearly, who was not a Christian, that I was going to heaven when I died. That's about all I knew and I wanted Daddy to go, too. He was a good man, a moral man, a hardworking man, but 3:00his problem was that he felt that he was as good as anybody in the church (and in many ways he was) but as I’ve said so many times, "Goodness without Christ is the worst kind of badness" and for him that was certainly true. But anyway, a couple of years later, he did make his profession of faith in Christ. I just have one sibling, a sister, who is four years younger. So we grew up in a very stable, middle-class, Christian home and that church nurtured me and encouraged me and guided me along the way. But I will always be grateful for that little girl. Had it not been for that fourteen-year-old girl coming to a little six-year-old boy I have no idea where I'd be today. God just used her, and her influence and her witness--and she never witnessed to me, I should say. She never gave me a Bible, she never read to me the Four Spiritual Laws (they weren’t even invented then), she just took me by the hand and took me to 4:00church and got me home. But every year, in November, I write her and thank her. She's a grandmother now, living over in Rayle, R-A-Y-L[-E], Georgia. But I stay in touch with her and thank her for what she did. On my, I guess it was the 25th anniversary here at Shades Mountain, it may have been the 20th, this church, unbeknowing to me, had her come and she was here in the worship service. Can't remember which of the two anniversaries. We were in the new worship center. She came and they recognized her and, of course, I was so glad to see her. In fact, that was the last time I actually saw her. And that same church, when I was a twelve-year-old boy, I felt God calling me to preach and I went forward and made that decision public, and that church nurtured me and gave me opportunities, even as a young teenager, to preach right there in the church and in the 5:00community. As a byproduct of that, I went to my first church when I was sixteen years old. But I was the associate pastor, I wasn’t the pastor. I led the music. I did everything except be the pastor. And the pastor was an old man, he was 21. You may know of him, he's still living and still here in Alabama. His name was Harper Shannon. He was pastor of what was then the Harmony Baptist Church out in Pleasant Grove. You may not have met Daven Watkins. He's a graduate of Beeson. Daven is now the pastor there. Of all things, I went back there as interim just before Daven came there. I laughingly tell people that it was Harmony Baptist when I was there and when I left, soon after I left, they had a split so it's now called First Baptist Church, Pleasant Grove. The split went down and formed the Bethel Baptist Church. But anyway, I was there [at 6:00Harmony Baptist] as a young teenager, learned so much. They were so kind and so encouraging and even though it was a small church, it ran probably ran 350 or 355, 365 in Sunday school. A good suburban church outside Birmingham. I was there three years. I was doing music and associate [pastor] and I knew that God had called me to preach. And when I was, I guess 19 or 20, a rather large church here in Birmingham was going to call me as minister of music and I had to make a decision of what to do. It was a real struggle and I knew God had called me to preach so I turned down that church. But I resigned at Harmony and I had a summer where I had 13 weeks of revival, back to back to back to back. So I did that summer full of revivals and at the end of that summer the one where I 7:00preached the first revival was a little country church down near Jemison, Alabama, the Providence Baptist Church. They called me as pastor and I went there. By that time, soon after that, I become engaged to my wife who was from Clanton. And so I was there for a year. We got married and left there and went to Southern Seminary. And went there and I--well no, excuse me, I stayed out [one year] between college and seminary and kept that little church and I taught school down here at Helena--you know where I'm talking about? And I had a year's teaching job there because I remember so well, I graduated from Howard in August ‘56 and I went to apply for the teaching position and the man who was superintendent of education then, W.T. Elliot, he said, "Well, I like all that you've written on the paper, but one thing bothers us. We like for our teachers 8:00to be involved in the political arena and I notice you didn't vote in the last election." I said, "No, sir. I wasn't old enough." At that time I was 20 and you had to be 21. And anyway, I went and taught at Helena for a year and lived in Montevallo and had a little church about six miles outside of Montevallo. The school was about 15 miles up from Montevallo and at the end of that year I had saved up enough money to pay off what debts I had and get married and we put all of our belongings in a little U-Haul trailer and took off to Louisville, Kentucky and went to seminary up there. Spent four years up there and was going to do graduate work there and went ahead and took the test and was accepted but during my second year at Southern they had a mass exodus of faculty members. 9:00Thirteen faculty left all at one time. One came back but 12 were gone over a conflict with the president so [this] basically gutted, you know, the faculty. There were still some left but it was a skeletal crew--so much so that I saw them gearing the doctoral program mainly to those who wanted to go into teaching. That was not what I wanted to do. I was interested in preaching. And the ones who had been interested in evangelism and preaching, those faculty members had all left. So I didn't stay; so I left there, in fact, in November of 1960 after I had finished there in May of '60. Came to a little church on the [western] side of Birmingham here, Hillview, out in Forestdale. We were there almost six years and left there at went to Whitesburg Church in Huntsville. 10:00There six years and had a great time. And left there and came here [Shades Mountain Baptist] 42 years ago, Sunday was a week ago [December 5, 1971]. And we have been here ever since. That's a quick thumbnail sketch of a lot of years.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What sort of things did you like to do as a kid and then intohigh school?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, because of my interest in music and being kind of akid/teenage minister of music, took trumpet lessons, started playing the trumpet in the band and played, and eventually became the first chair trumpeter at Phillips High School. And so I did that, I used the trumpet in churches and playing and leading the music. So I did that. I was never an athlete. I enjoyed athletics but I wasn't good enough to play them. So I did that and, I was 11:00actually in high school, very active in the school. I was president of the senior class, vice president of the honor society. A dear friend of mine who was also a preacher boy, he was president of the honor society and vice president of the senior class, so we kind of ran the school as preachers and we had a great time. It was a great school. The other thing we did there while I was in Phillips High School, Evan, there were 11 of us, and I have a picture of that group but I think it too is at home. Eleven of us who were preacher boys who were all at the same time at Phillips High School, and so the school in those days, and this would have been in the early to mid-50s, the early 50s, they let us have, we started what was called a Morning Watch. It was just a 15 minute, beginning the day before classes worship service. Voluntary attendance. 8-8:15, 12:00classes started at 8:20. The 11 of us began that and we would rotate preaching about every quarter it would be one of our times to preach. The others would be there to lead the music and just help. And we would sometimes have three or four hundred students who would come to Morning Watch. The high school probably, at that time, had 1000 students, maybe 1200. Back in those days there were only five high schools in Birmingham: Phillips, Ensley, West End, Woodlawn, Ramsey. Phillips was probably the largest because it was centrally located downtown. It gave me good preaching opportunities just to the students and 11 of us guys who were going into the ministry just happened to be all there at the same time in school. And we got together and got permission from the principal to have the Morning Watch. So we did that and of course I went to my first church right 13:00after I had gotten into high school. Went out to Harmony in [Pleasant Grove] when I was 16 in September of 1952, so the things of interest to me were being involved in extracurricular activities in the band mainly is what I did.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: How did you end up at Howard College?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, I narrowed it down. You were talking about you werelooking at schools when you came to Beeson and Samford. I narrowed it down to Baylor and Howard. Mainly, a lot of reasons for that. That was the process for narrowing it down. I really got enamored with Baylor. At that time there was a great youth revival movement that was going through the United States, particularly in the South and East and Southwest and several young preachers who 14:00were Baylor graduates, Charles Wellborn and Howard Butt and Jackie Robinson and Buckner Fanning are the four that I remember and Frank Boggs was the musician. They came through Birmingham and had a city wide youth revival at the old Boutwell Auditorium and I was there every night. I became--all these guys had been to Baylor--and so I was very intrigued and I was very impressed with those fellows and their preaching ability and their love for the Lord. And this friend of mine who was another preacher boy (he and I were the president and vice president of the senior class), he too got interested in Baylor. But the more I thought about it the more I said, that's a long way away and I can be right here at home and my family didn’t have much money. I knew that and so, he did go to 15:00Baylor but he only stayed one semester. While he was out there, a terrible tornado went through and nearly destroyed Waco and he came back home, not mainly because of the tornado but it certainly didn't hurt. But I went on and decided that--I prayed about it, thought about it, because of living here and the convenience. And then, my church had, through the church, they would periodically have several of the religion teachers would come and do Bible studies and supply preach and I had gotten to know them through that and so that was probably, as I look in retrospect, had as much to do with my selecting to go there. I got to know two or three of the good Bible teachers of Howard and convenience and then money. It was just…I was, you are not going to believe this, but I believe that when I went to Howard back in the dark ages, I started 16:00there in January of 1953; I think the tuition was $150 and I got a 50% discount being a minister so I paid $75 a semester. Well, I could afford that. Baylor was a good bit more than that with out-of-state tuition and things like that. So I guess you'd say the finances and the religion faculty that I knew and geographical proximity. All those just kind of tilted me in that direction.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Which religion professors did you come to know?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, the one who was head of the department then was a mannamed Dr. Vernon Davison, D-A-V-I-S-O-N, no ‘D.’ And he became a dear friend and I took, not just, I took a whole, two semesters of Greek under him and I also took New Testament under him and I took a course in comparative religions 17:00under him. While I was there, two professors came who I became very close to. They were new professors. Dr. Sigurd Bryan, who is still, you know who I am talking about. He came on the faculty while I was there. And Dr. Mabry Lunceford, who is now deceased, who also came at the same time that Sigurd did. It seems to me like they both came in the fall of 1955 and I took a course on the Prophets under Dr. Lunceford. I got to know Dr. Bryan real well. In fact, later, had him come to my little church when I finished seminary. He had done his doctorate in the works of Jeremiah and Jeremiah was a January Bible study book that year and I had Sigurd to come and do the January Bible study. He was a fine, still is, a fine Christian example as a Christian teacher and preacher. So 18:00Vernon Davison and Sigurd Bryan and Mabry Lunceford. There were some others there that I knew and in fact had a course or two with them but I was not as close to them as I was those. The others were Dr. James Chapman and right now I am the James H. Chapman Fellow of Pastoral Ministry at Beeson named for him and I had only one course under him. It was a course in religious education. Another fellow who was there was Marvin Ashlock. He taught preaching. I did take a homiletics course under him. Another fellow who was there named Parks Redwine who was a member of Shades Crest Church but he was on the religion faculty. I believe that was it.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What was the theological disposition of the religion departmentat that time?
CHARLES CARTER: I am going to talk to you very plainly here, Evan. It was farmore conservative than what it is today. And I use the word conservative. You 19:00have to be careful when you put out names like that. I don't mean a “right wing fundamentalist.” I just mean, unapologetically committed to the authority of the Scriptures, the person of Jesus Christ, the way of salvation in him and him alone, and very committed to the local church. Each of these men that I just described to you, particularly Davison, Bryan and Mabry Lunceford and about that time, Dr. Hudson Baggett came on the faculty (it was after I left). Those four particularly, oftentimes were interim pastors or did Bible studies in Alabama Baptist churches. That's not happening today. I do not know whether it is the lack of interest on the faculty in doing that or the lack of the churches or that they can't publicly communicate to the lay people. It is more academic 20:00maybe. I am not a person to judge. But there is absolutely no question in my mind that the religion department that I knew and for many years was that way, was certainly more centrist and middle of the road than what I see it has become, though I think Dr. Westmoreland is doing everything he can to move it back towards the middle of the road which is where I think it ought to be.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: How did the centrist disposition affect your ministry?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, that is who I am. I'm not an extremist on either side butI have strong, conservative theological convictions, particularly about the authority and inspiration of the Bible. For instance, when I went to Southern Seminary I decided once and for all I had to decide what my posture would be on the Bible. And so I wrote my first term paper, 35-40 pages, I still have a copy 21:00of it, on the “Inspiration of the Scriptures” and became convinced without any question after doing a whole semester of reading, research, and reading various postures on this that the Bible was the verbally inspired Word of God. Not dictation, but certainly that God guided not only the thoughts but the words. I came to that conviction, I pretty well went to the seminary with that conviction, but writing that paper cemented it academically that I was absolutely confident about the integrity and authority of the Scriptures. And because of that, that colors all the rest of your theology. But by the same token, I did not come to what I would call an ultra-fundamentalist interpretation that only the King James is inspired or that God dictated it and 22:00there was no room for human personality or there are not differences in the Gospels and things of that nature. But just what I would call, of course I'm prejudiced, a wholesome, centrist theological posture about the Scriptures and the person of Christ and basic fundamental Christian doctrine. Does that make sense?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Yes. What was the old campus at East Lake like?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, first of all, when I was there, and of course you have torealize that I graduated in August of '56, they moved to the new campus in September of ‘57 so I missed it by 13 months. By that time the campus had been “let go down” because they knew Mr. Samford had given 400 acres down there for the school to be on and they knew they were moving. In fact, construction 23:00had already begun on it. So, you know, when you know you are going to be moving into a new house you let the old house go down, so that was one thing. There was a building on the campus called Riley Hall, I don't know who it was named for (W.B. Riley seemed like a Baptist leader here). We used to say "If the termites quit holding hands, the building would fall in," because it was pretty much in disarray. So the campus was nothing, absolutely on a different planet from what the campus is today but it was a great place to be. I don't know what the student body was, maybe 1500, but another disadvantage I had, I did not live on campus. Since I lived in Birmingham I commuted back and forth everyday so I didn’t get into the campus atmosphere like students would who lived there in dormitory spaces. But it was, I had many, many fond memories of courses that I 24:00took at Samford University. I felt that I got a good, solid, middle of the road, liberal arts education in that old campus and had no idea later that I would be as close to the new campus as I have become by virtue of being back in Birmingham, at Shades Mountain, and now on the faculty of Beeson. But it was rundown buildings because they were looking forward to the new buildings. But still, that did not destroy the atmosphere of the faculty and student body. It was great.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What was the feeling on campus among the students?
CHARLES CARTER: That is hard for me to say because I was in and out. I never--Idid not ever feel a part of the campus life because I took my first church in September before I went to college in January so when I got through with classes I got in the car and headed to my church and so I really was not a good, I could 25:00not really give you a good gauge of campus life because my life was wrapped up in studies and in the church, not in campus life. Now, I would have enjoyed that but it just happened with 24 hours in the day, I chose to put them in studying and the church work and in retrospect, I'm glad I did. I learned so much about church life I never would have learned had I not had the experience as a 16, 17, 18 year old at a new church so I can't answer a question about how the campus life was because being, living in Birmingham and then having a church here, I was in and out. I really got an education there but I can’t say I got a whole lot more.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Are there any other professors outside of the religiondepartment that stand out in your mind?
CHARLES CARTER: At the old campus?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Yes.
CHARLES CARTER: Yes. I majored in history and speech. Trying to think of his26:00first name. Dean Dale was the head of the history department and he was crippled. He was in a wheelchair. I think he had had polio. Someone who is still here in town was kind of his assistant, Chriss Doss, who would move him around on campus. But he was a very, very good teacher. A second person that comes to my mind that, besides the religion department, that I had great appreciation for was the one who became head of the English department (he wasn't when I was there), Austin Dobbins. And since you're here on the staff here of Shades Mountain, the Dobbins Building back here is named for his father, Gaines Dobbins, who was a member here when I came here. In fact, I conducted his funeral here. When Gaines Dobbins, who was the most well-known religious 27:00educator in Southern Baptist life in the middle part of the 20th century, retired at Southern Seminary, went to Golden Gate Seminary in California for maybe 10 years, retired there. Because Austin was living in Birmingham, Dr. and Mrs. Dobbins moved back here. Quickly after that, she had a massive stroke that left her completely immobilized and she was in the nursing home right down here in Hoover. Austin Dobbins was his son and he was an English professor. I was very appreciative of him as a teacher. I am trying to think of others that. . . I guess those would be the ones that stand out in my mind. One other one, I didn’t have but I appreciated him because he was the dean of the school. His 28:00name was P.P. Burns, Percy Burns. He was particularly well known for his English course on Shakespeare. I never took the course but I sat in it and audited it sometime. And I was very intrigued by his knowledge of English literature and particularly Shakespeare. He and James H. Chapman were brothers-in-law. They had married sisters so they were very close together there. Harwell Davis was also. I was not that close to him, but I had great respect for him. He was the president at that time and Davis, Davis Library, the Harwell Davis Library [is named for him].
EVAN MUSGRAVES: As a history major, did you ever have Dr. Sarkiss?
CHARLES CARTER: I did not, but the fellow that I worked with at Harmony Churchthat pastored there did have him, Harper Shannon. I heard a lot about Dr. 29:00Sarkiss from Harper Shannon. And the other one that was so well known, and my wife had him when she went to Samford, was George Irons. He was in the history department and Janice, my wife, became very appreciative of George Irons. I knew him only at a distance and then he had a son, I think who is George Jr., who was ahead of me in college but was there the same time I was there. Dr. Irons had a very gentle, quiet spirit but very, very smart intellectually and very good and gifted in communicating according to the students that I heard, particularly my wife. Sarkiss was more animated and was more colored outside the lines from what I heard, but I never did have him. How did you know about him?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: We just hear a lot about Dr. Sarkiss so we were just trying tofigure out who he was.
CHARLES CARTER: Right. I did not have him so I can't fill in the blanks.30:00
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Did you know Major Davis at all?
CHARLES CARTER: I did. I was in his office a time or two for various thingsrelated to the school but I didn’t know him real well. Not nearly as well as I knew some of the others. Do you know who John Pittman is?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Yes.
CHARLES CARTER: John Pittman, you know, is a trustee, and I am a trustee atSamford and I have gotten to know John real well. John's wife, Margaret [Marge], I may have her name wrong, she died just a few years ago, she was the secretary to Major Davis and John Pittman had high regard for Major Davis as a student. Part of that may be colored by the fact his wife was his secretary. Because of that he got to know him on a more intimate basis. I have always appreciated John Pittman. He's a dear friend of mine and a wonderful Christian layman and he had 31:00high regard for Major Davis. But his wife, Marge was her name; I knew that didn't sound right. Marge was his secretary and thereby had close connections with him. Definitely, I would say, that in the sovereignty of God, Major Davis had personality, Leslie Wright had another, Tom Corts had another, and Andy Westmoreland has another. And Andy Westmoreland has more people skills than all three of them put together. People skills. I would say that Tom Corts is probably the most intellectual of the four. Leslie Wright was more a promoter and Harwell Davis probably was the one who saved the school from going under financially back when it was having such a difficult time. And with his stature of leadership in Alabama life, not necessarily Baptist life, he probably had as 32:00much to do with saving...In the sovereignty of God, there was just a difference in the kind of people that he led to be presidents of Samford in the last 50 or 75 years.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Did you meet your wife when you were at Howard?
CHARLES CARTER: No, I told you that I had 13 revivals that summer. I met my wifeon a piano bench in a little Baptist church down in Chilton County. This friend of mine, James Jones, who’s the one that went to Baylor but then came back, he was pastor of that little country church and was actually dating my wife and he asked me to come down and do a revival and there's where I met her. We didn't begin dating then but later they [James and she] broke up and I saw what a stupid guy he was so I began to date her. And she's from Clanton and grew up in 33:00that little town there so that's where I met her. But she went to Huntington College on a music scholarship her first year. Then we got married. Then when we were in seminary, Georgetown College in Kentucky would send faculty to the campus of Southern Seminary and would do night courses and she took all of her English literature there and then, after she did as much as they taught there, there was a Catholic school in Louisville called Nazareth, Nazareth Catholic College. She, at that time, was majoring in home economics and they had a great home ec department and she took a good many courses there. We finished seminary and we came back and our children began to come along and she dropped out of there but she still lacked about a year and a half so after the girls got in school, she went back to college because she said she wasn't going to finish college after her daughters did--so she went back to Howard College and made all 34:00A's but one B+ in statistics and she didn't actually get her degree from Howard, Samford until May of 1979 and our oldest daughter started in 1980 so she got out just before the oldest daughter got there. But I did not meet her at Howard. She was in Huntington, a Methodist school in Montgomery.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What year did you come to Shades Mountain?
CHARLES CARTER: December the 5th, 1971. 42 years ago.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: What was the church like when you got here?
CHARLES CARTER: Well, I had known this church, Evan, in the sovereignty of Godagain, when I was, let's see, I would have been 16 years old. Vernon Davison, 35:00who was head of the religion department, gave my name to [the] pastor who was here who was a young man, then right out of seminary, whose name was Hugh Chambliss. The church, so it was the second revival I was ever in was here at Shades Mountain leading the music for a revival in the old, what we used to call Miller's Chapel where the new wing is going out towards Vestaview Lane. And I remember so well, used to, we would put the attendance on the wall in these little churches, that the Sunday that we begin that revival, we had 91 in Sunday school. This would have been in March of 1952 and little did I know what would happen--that less than 20 years later I would be the pastor. Shades Mountain has 36:00always been a church characterized by good spirit, good harmony. Hugh was here for probably 10 years, became one of my closest friends and later I had his funeral and I had his wife's funeral in Huntsville where they lived, but he was here from probably ‘51-‘62, ‘61. Carl Giers came from ‘62-‘71 and then I came in December ‘71. Giers would have stayed longer probably; he developed Parkinson's disease and left nearly a year before I came here. But the church when I came here was running about 800-850 in Sunday school and the last year I was here I think we averaged 2,400 or 2,500 or something like that. There was never any meteoric growth--like we went 200 or 300 hundred more than the year before--but I called it healthy, good, solid, stable growth for 26 years. The 37:00thing I'm most grateful for is that in that 26 years, we averaged 10 new members a Sunday, every Sunday, 52 Sundays a year for 26 years and probably a third of those were on profession of faith and two-thirds were transferring. Now you have to remember that in that time the community was growing, people were wanting to move over the mountain in Birmingham so it was a wonderful time to be here. And the other thing I am so grateful for here at Shades Mountain, and it's still that way, I was here 26 years, we had 5 negative votes on anything and I could tell you what those are but it's not interesting for what you're doing. But, the church has just been a church following leadership: pastor leadership, deacon leadership so it's just been a . . . I have the highest regard for Danny Wood. I 38:00don't know whether you know my relationship to Danny. Do you know that?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: I know a little bit about the transition but . . .
CHARLES CARTER: Well, it may not be related to your assignment but as a memberhere, you need to know. Danny came here straight out of Auburn University and went, was working with Bell South Telephone Company. I had never heard of him, didn't know him. He had grown up at Briarlake Church in Atlanta. And we needed a single adult Sunday school teacher here. Someone said that he could teach so I began to hear good words about his abilities as a Sunday school teacher. Not long after that, maybe two years later, the minister of singles here, Dwight Kidd, resigned to go do a master’s degree in counseling and so I came to Danny and said…and talked to him just like we're talking, and said, "I want to ask you to prayerfully consider, would you become our minister of single adults?" We 39:00had never had a full time [person]. He was honored and he was kind and he did pray about it and he came back and I remember so well what he said. He felt like God had called him to be a minister in the marketplace. And I couldn’t argue with that. We needed that. And I backed away. Soon after that, he began dating Janice. She had joined the church here. I baptized Janice. She was a Methodist, Janice Culbertson. So then they met in the singles ministry and later I performed their wedding here. And 5 years maybe after I called him in the ministry, the telephone company sent him to Mobile and he was in Spring Hill Church. And one night he called me from down there and he said, "You know when you tried to call me in the ministry?" I said, "I do." He said, “I think God's gotten into it now." And he told me that they had increasingly felt that God was 40:00leading them into Christian ministry so he resigned his position and they took off and headed to Southwestern Seminary. You know the Prestonwood Church in that area? Well it was a large church and I knew some of the leadership there. So I called the minister of education, a man named Bill Taylor, and I told him, I said, "You've got a fine young man coming there that I think, if you are interested, you have any place you can use him on the staff, he would be worth you looking at." Well, he called me back in a few days, weeks maybe. He said, "Well, we put him in our bus ministry." I said, "Taylor, this man is far more gifted than just putting him on a bus route." He said, "What do you mean?" I told him a little bit. The next thing I knew, they had made him, I think, minister of young adults and he stayed on and did such a good job there that they made him the associate pastor and he left there and became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Ruston, Louisiana, and was there eight years before he 41:00came here. So in some ways he has been like a son to me in the ministry. And the transition here, what I felt that I was going to retire--I always thought that everything that happened in my life, Evan, happened early: I was saved when I was 7 and a half years old, called to preach when I was 12, preached my first sermon when I was 15, went to my first church when I was 16, got married when I was 21, and went to my first full time church out of seminary when I was 24, so I had always felt like I would retire early. I don't mean by that 50 but I didn’t think in terms of going to 75. Well, when I saw the handwriting on the wall to myself, I met the 10 previous deacon chairmen here and told them, "I'm not ready to leave but here's what I want to say: Oftentimes when you have a 42:00long, extended pastorate, what I don't want to happen is that you get off in the corner and say, 'Well poor old Brother Carter has lost his cutting edge but he's been here so long we've got to be nice to him'" I said, "Come to me and tell me that I am done or I may be the first one to know it but I may be the last one. If I am the last one, you tell me." Well, as it turned out, I felt, not that I had lost the cutting edge, I just felt that the time was that I needed to move. I had no idea I would be doing what I'm doing now. So, I now, since September of 1996, have what I called a "Vision for the Future." And I, those men, I told them, I said, "We can go about this in one of two or three ways: I can come and say to you, 'in three months I'm going to be gone and you can look for a 43:00preacher and God bless you' or we can go about it in a new way that I don't know of any church that has ever done it. I won't leave you but I will tell you as soon as you can find a pastor then I'll be gone and I'll overlap with him but I won't have any say-so in it. You and he can say if you want me to stay a day, a week, or a month whatever it is." And I said, "Take and think about it for a few months." And they said, "We don't have to think about that. We want to do it this way." So that was the birth of the idea of the transition that we had. When Dr. Wood got here, it ended up he asked me to stay 11 months so we called him in March of 1997 and I stayed on until February the 1st (which happened to be my birthday) of 1998 and 11 months later after he came on board. And during that time he was learning, you know, everything about the church. And I was here but 44:00I immediately, I vacated the office where he was at that time (not the new one he's in now) and moved down here (actually it was another place) but anyway, got completely out of the church office and completely let him become the pastor. We did overlap the preaching there for a few months and gradually I faded out and he became fully, by the end of that time, was doing all of the preaching. But it was a smooth transition, still is. He's still one of my best friends but I don't bother him. And if I'm going to the hospital I call him or Keith [Habermas] or Jerry Harris and say, "I don't want to go in front of you or behind you" and very seldom do I go to the hospital and I could go to heaven and never go to a hospital and be happy. But what I'm saying is, there has been no conflict whatsoever. I love him and he loves me. And I was very concerned, Evan, when I 45:00left here that so many times, when there is a long pastorate, then there is conflict or upheaval after that. And I was just bent and determined that that was not going, and Danny was too, we're not going to let that happen here. And we didn't. And if I had a do-over again, that part I would do it exactly like we did it. But, and the part of that was, he and I were committed to one another and to the church we were going to make this transition work and it has. The church is in the best shape today it's ever been in. Except for some of the interns [laughter]. It's in the best shape it's ever been in and I pray for it, support it, give to it, happy to be a part of it.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Over your time as pastor here, what are some of your favorite memories?46:00
CHARLES CARTER: As I said, having 10 new members join the church every Sundayfor 52 Sundays out of the year for 26 years. That will always stand out in my mind as a product of God's blessings. There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes. Some of the other things: I made a commitment when I left the seminary that, because I saw problems in churches that I felt like were rooted not so much in Satan but just lack of communication, and so I made a commitment that every month before we had deacons’ meetings and finance committee meetings, I would meet with the two chairmen and go over the agenda: what we were going to talk about in the meeting this week and this month. And I said to them, "I promise you I will never surprise you. Anything that I bring up to the 47:00finance committee and the deacons you and I will have first of all talked about it behind closed doors. And if we're not together then it ain't going no farther and we'll keep working at it until we get together." And I had a hook in that. And I said, "By the same token, I would hope that you would never surprise me in any one of these meetings." And I said, "I want to know what's going on. And then we'll talk about it behind closed doors." And I have done that for over 40 years in ministry. And a part of that then, resulted in the fact that they, the leadership, they knew that I trusted them, they trusted me and I think that was communicated to the church. I know it was and especially to the deacons and finance committee. And to only have five negative votes in 26 years, that was an 48:00amazing thing. I said awhile ago I'd tell you: two of those had to do with whether or not we needed a consultant to raise money. And we were looking at 10 million dollars we needed to raise and there were two people who felt that we didn't need a consultant. And I told them that I thought was facetious to say we didn't need an architect. And then the other three were, at one time, we were calling a minster of single adults and I had five names, that is the minister of education and I looked at the five. The one who was the most qualified out of the five had been divorced and yet we felt like he was the best person for the job. So I tried to prepare the way for that, I won't go into all the details but anyway, three voted against that but mainly because of the divorce, not because 49:00of the person. So those five, so you know, that's really minor compared to what many churches go through. Another highlight I would say here was, you just had the program, were you here for the music yesterday? Well, we always had an annual Christmas pageant here. You've read about it and heard about it. Aubrey Edwards was our minister of music then. I think everyone in the church would say that that was one of the highlights of the year to them. Before we got the new worship center, we did it at Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford. Then when we got the facility that was equally as big, it was much easier to do it here. And then, have you heard anything about Starlite?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Yes.
CHARLES CARTER: Okay. Well, I had a vision that we would begin Starlite in 19--Ihad the idea in ‘78 but I could take you to the very spot, Evan, I was riding a horse down in Dallas County and I stopped just to rest one day under a tree 50:00down there in the middle of nowhere and these ideas began to ferment in my mind. Well, one of the things I wanted to do--I didn't want this evangelistic outreach to the community to degenerate into "We gotta have your money to pay for this" because it was going to cost a good bit of money. So rather than go back and do like I normally do and recommend that we do it and start it, I took two years to raise the funding for the first Starlite so in ‘78 and ‘79 we put aside a little money and a little bit more. The first year's budget was $40,000 and it stayed pretty close to that the whole time. And the concept was to have kind of a mini-Billy Graham crusade in a local area. We went to Berry High School 51:00stadium and went on the football [field], got permission from the football coach to use the football field. Our choir sang, I did the preaching, we brought in a guest every night and we invited people all over. Before we ever had Starlite, I met with all, the first Starlite, I met with all the pastors of all denominations right here in the Fellowship Hall, fed them lunch, and told them what we were going to do. And I said, "I want you to hear me say, 'We're not here to get any member of your church to join our church.' We want you to have them. If they're unsaved people and they make a profession of faith and they prefer your church, immediately the next day we will notify you and ask then that within two weeks somebody make a follow up. Now if you do that, that's the end of it. If you don't do that, we're going to." So it was a kind of putting them responsible for the people that wanted to go to their church. And we had 52:00Church of God, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and I can't remember anyone else. But they saw that, and I said that, "The last thing, we will not take up an offering. We're not trying to [get] money out of your people to help our church." And I said, "We're going to have it paid for before we ever go outside." Well, all of that together made it palatable to the other denominations. And so we started it in June/July 1980 and I guess for 16 or 17 straight years we went to Berry Stadium. It got to where our building would seat as many as the stadium would sit so we brought it inside. That was both good and bad. The good was that we didn’t have to worry about the weather because in June around here and July it can sometimes be raining in the afternoon and many agonizing moments I spent with Aubrey Edwards deciding: do we call it off or do we not? The amazing thing: in 16 or 17 years, we only got rained out twice. That 53:00is, we got started and then it rained. And we changed it sometimes and brought it inside. The idea was if the rain was going to be coming in we would go inside the church. This was in the old [sanctuary], what you would call the Conference Center now. But we had hundreds and hundreds of decisions made for Christ at Starlite and I still meet people today, Evan, that say, "My life was changed when y'all had Starlite." Well, that's gratifying just to know that something years and years ago can make an impact. So that's, you asked, memories of things I had here. I would say these things that I just mentioned would be some of the things that stand out as highlights in my life. One year I remember, one Sunday we had 47 additions to the church here on one Sunday morning. I'll never forget that. And that time I was going through a very decisive moment in my life about 54:00whether to stay here or go to another church that was asking me to come. I guess it was God giving me a lightning strike saying "This is where I want you to be."
EVAN MUSGRAVES: I know you have been involved in denominational life. Describeyour involvement in the 1995 SBC racial reconciliation resolution.
CHARLES CARTER: I'd be glad to do that. Do you know who Jim Henry is? Jim Henrywas president of the SBC that year and had been a friend of mine. In fact, Jim was here preaching revival with me when he was, got the call that First Baptist, Orlando wanted him to be their pastor. So we had been good friends. In fact, later I married his daughter, Kitty that she wanted daddy to be daddy and she was a college student at Samford and had been here. So we were close friends. We 55:00didn't see each other that often but he called me and asked me if I would be chairman of the Resolutions Committee that year, ‘95 and told me in advance one of the resolutions he was hoping we could implement would be one on racial reconciliation. And a little bit of the background to that. Have you seen the book at Beeson A Mighty Long Journey that Dr. George and Dr. Smith [edited]? Well, you would be interested at looking at that, Evan. A Mighty Long Journey is a compilation of sermons that Timothy George and Robert Smith have put together and they asked me to do one of the sermons in there. I think I called the sermon that I printed that was in the book "God Shows No Partiality, Nor Should We"--that God is no respecter of persons. And the background to that was this: 56:00(and Jim knew about this and probably was one of the reasons that he asked me to do this). I had a little country church that I told you about, Providence, that I went to when I was just an older teenager. This same preacher who had been a friend of mine in high school was a pastor down there. The little county, Chilton County, Clanton being the county seat, very little was going on for the young people so we started a county-wide youth rally every other Saturday night in Chilton County. And we would move to different churches. Wherever we were invited, we'd go and all they would have to do was provide us a place to be. And for that county, it became the real attractive thing. We tried to have good services; young people would like it, good music, good preaching, good fellowship. We would have 300, 400 young people and their parents and adults 57:00would come to these little country churches all around the county. He and I were staying in the old Willingham Hotel there in Clanton on the weekend and one day the phone rang there and the young black preacher on the other end told me who he was and he said, "We know what you all have done" and said "some of us would like start something like that for the black young people of Chilton County" (and this was in 1956) but said, "But we don't really know what to do. Would you mind if I came and just observed? So I could come back and tell them what you all are doing." And I said, "Man, I'd be glad to have you! Come on." The next week it was to be at the Liberty Hill Baptist Church there on the edge of 58:00Clanton and he came and at the close of the service I introduced him to them and told them what their idea was and pray for them as they try to implement a program to reach the African-American young people in Chilton County. I asked him to lead the closing prayer. That was it. I had never seen him before, haven't seen him since. I'm telling you all this for a reason. Two weeks later (every other week we had the youth rally) it happened to be, not by plan, it was just the way we planned, it was going to be meeting in my church, Providence. That night I was presiding, excuse me, I was leading the music and James Jones was presiding. And as we got started in the little country church with a ‘T’ across the back, one of the men of the church came and motioned with his finger and James went out and he was gone and I'm leading the singing. We sing one 59:00hymn, sing another, finally another and finally he came back in and said, "I'll take over now" (whispered in my ear). So I sat down and he got up. He said, "Folks, we have some guests who want to come in tonight." And Evan, in the back of the back of that little country church walked 10 hooded Ku Klux Klansmen. Walked right down the center aisle (probably 250 young people packed in there) lined up across the front, got down on their knees, prayed what I would call a white supremacist prayer, dropped 10 dollars in the offering plate, and walked out. It petrified those kids as you could imagine. I could not tell you the anger it made me [feel]. I need to say in parentheses, James Jones and I had a morning, every Sunday morning, we had a radio program on the only radio station 60:00in Chilton County, WKLF, and every other week he would be preaching and every other week I would be preaching. 9-9:30. The next Sunday morning was my time to preach. I stayed up most of the night working the sermon that's in that book "God is No Respecter of Persons" out of James 2. And to be honest with you, I blistered their hides. I told the whole county exactly what I'm telling you, exactly what happened. And how deplorable and damnable and despicable and unconscionable it would be that grown white men would do what those men did. I spoke the truth, I would say to you, but I didn't speak it in love. I was angry, very angry because it was 12 hours after it happened that I was preaching it on the radio. I got death threats and threatening things because of that. But anyway, I'm still here today so nobody killed me. But because of that, it got 61:00the community aware how awful the KKK was and what they had done to a group, and the next time we had the youth rally we had more people there than ever before. So it didn’t have a negative effect. It had a catalytic [effect], it was an encouraging thing. Well, that was in, it was on the Saturday night after Thanksgiving of 1956, so this was before the Supreme Court ruling in May of ‘57 when everything was moved in another direction. Well, I say all that, from that experience, how can I put this, I guess I got a reputation of being someone who was on the cutting edge in the mid-1950s for racial reconciliation. That was 62:00in a nutshell. I wasn't a crusader. I didn't go out. In fact, I told you about everything I said or did. But the end result of that was Jim knew about this, Jim Henry. And he said, "I want you to be the chairman of the committee and to help bring about the resolution." So we had many people we had input into that, the resolution. He himself, I did, Richard Land helped us, there were two others I can't remember--SBC leaders who met with the committee on resolutions. And we came with the resolution and it was not unanimous but I would say it was 98-99% passed, overwhelmingly it was done. Now, I came away, it was in Atlanta, that was where we were when this resolution was passed. I came away driving back to 63:00Birmingham and I thought, "You know, the easy thing to do is to pass a resolution. The more difficult is what can we do to demonstrate we are really serious about this?" So I made up my mind, Evan, coming back from Atlanta to Birmingham that I was going to get to know some African-American pastors. I have to tell you honestly, I didn’t know any of them. They didn’t know me. I am up here on the mountain, they are wherever. To make a long story longer, I called a friend of mine, do you know who Gregg Morrison is here at this church? Gregg was, I guess he was then a student at Beeson. No, no excuse me, he was in this church and was CPA with Cooper Lybrand, but I knew his heart he and, do you know Tim Lupinacci in this church? Those two guys had become very good friends 64:00with an African-American pastor named Gerald Austin who had begun the New City Church, downtown Birmingham and they knew him. And I came back, I told Gregg, I'd like to meet a black pastor, tell me who you would recommend. He said Gerald Austin, so in a few days he and I and Gerald went to lunch together and I began to tell Gerald about that I would like to get to meet some of the black pastors, "Maybe we could just have a meeting, a luncheon and I could just invite them to be our guests." I'll never forget what he said, he said, "Well, Dr. Carter, I'd be glad to have a luncheon but I have about met about all I want to. Let's do something." So I never did have that luncheon. I went from right there. He began to show me what he was doing. Do you even know anything about Gerald Austin? Well, it's a sad story and his son just got elected president of the City 65:00Council of Birmingham, Jonathan Austin is the son of Gerald and his wife. His wife is a graduate of Beeson, Gerald's wife. I'll tell you her name [Gwen], she was in my class. Anyway, they have actually divorced. But anyway, back to where we were. He had begun the Center for Urban Ministries in downtown Birmingham centered on Central City which was right across the street from where I went to high school and they singled it out because it, at that time, had the lowest income per capita than any zip code in America. And that's where they planted their ministry. And I was intrigued by all of that. It was my hometown and right across the street from my high school. Immediately Gerald and I resonated. In fact, that picture right up there. He and I became good friends and there he is 66:00right there on horseback and that's Gregg Morrison right there and there I am. But anyway, we became good friends and the bottom line was, I preached at New City Church and he preached here and we, the members got to know one another and his chairman of the deacons was a doctor named Selwyn Vickers who was a brilliant oncologist at UAB and Selwyn and some of the doctors in this church got to know one another who would have never known one another had he stayed down there and we stayed up here so a lot of good came out of it and lasted a long time. We did a lot of things to help their church and did a lot of things to help us in the sense of showing us what needed to be done. All of that is to say, that was my effort of implementing that resolution on racial reconciliation 67:00and then to say the background on how I happened to be tapped to be that was primarily Jim Henry knowing that. And you can read some of that in the book A Mighty Long Journey.
EVAN MUSGRAVES: My next question was about racial relations at Shades aroundthat time in the 70s? Who were some of the first African-members?
CHARLES CARTER: I can tell you exactly. And I've got to go this funeral here injust a few minutes. All I’ve got to do is get to the student building. Can you get me there in two minutes?
EVAN MUSGRAVES: Yeah.
CHARLES CARTER: When I was, I preached a trial sermon here, we called it inthose days, October the 31st, Halloween Day, of 1971. They had a five member key search committee but then they had a larger 20 member search committee. And I had met with the small group and I had met with the large group and as I did, we 68:00planned on me preaching that morning and night of October the 31st. I asked them if we could have an afternoon open forum session in the old Fellowship Hall (where it is still) and I would make a few comments and then I would field any question anybody had about anything about being the new preacher. I was much younger, I was 35 years old and the pastor that was retiring was 65 so I knew there would be a lot of questions they would have. Well, we had the arena there, I think it was like four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. There were varied and sundry questions that you would expect to come. No one said a thing about race. Well that was in ‘71, alright? So I had already told me wife, if they brought it up, they'd give me an arena to answer it. But if not, I would bring it up. So 69:00I asked, "Any other questions? Anybody?" I said, "I want to bring up something you have in your mind and I know it and you know it so let me lay it out on the table." I said, "I want to talk to you for just a minute on race relations. I am not a crusader to integrate the church but I am also not party to rejecting anybody on the pigmentation of their skin so I want you to know that if you call me as your pastor tonight and if a week from now and month from now or a decade from now a person of color walks the aisle of our church, we won't have a committee to consider it, we will accept them just like we would accept anybody else on their profession of faith in Christ or transferring their membership. I want you to know that's my posture. You may not agree with me. Now is the time for you to say so or show so, just don't call me as your pastor. But that's who I am and I feel like I need to be very transparent with you. And if you've got 70:00questions about this now's the time to ask them. You haven't called me yet but in a couple of hours that recommendation's going to be coming to you from your search committee. Any question?" It was deathly silent and finally the man for who the Dobbins Building is named, Gaines Dobbins (by that time was probably 81, 82 years old). Very respected in this church. He stood up and he says, "Pastor, and I feel like I can," very gentlemanly, "I can call you that. We would not want anyone to be our pastor who didn't feel the way you feel." They all applauded. That was it. I knew everybody in that room didn't feel that way but they went ahead. They gave a unanimous call that night but at least I had 71:00cleared the deck. Now I am saying all that to tell you something else. Two years later in 1973, two African students: Sam Fadeji and Rufus Adetona were students at Samford University and I had got to know them through the missionary who led both of them to Christ, Carl Whirley. And I had known Carl Whirley since I was a little boy. So anyway, through him, I got to know Sam and Rufus. I took them to lunch two or three times. And Rufus (Sam was a very good preacher and he was out preaching all the time) but Rufus told me, he said, "Do you think it would be okay for me to join Shades Mountain?" I said, "Absolutely." I hadn't told him all I told you. I said, "Look, there's not any problem." He said, "I don't see any black people there." I said, "Well, you can be the first one." And he was. He walked the aisle here on a Sunday night and joined the church from a church in Africa. I put my arm around him and told them who he was and that he and I 72:00had lunch together and he was a wonderful Christian. And Carl Whirley, on furloughs, had lived in our missionary home here so the church knew them. So it couldn't have been easier: here is an SBC missionary who’s furloughed in our church and he has led this guy to Christ and he just happens to be black. I mean, it couldn't have been any easier and they received him unanimously. But this church, from that day on, then gradually there have been, and still as you well know, there's a handful of African-Americans who are here. As far as I know now, if there is any African-American anywhere, they would be welcomed here. I have no question whatever that would happen. How many would you see here on a Sunday? Maybe a dozen?
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Partial Transcript: "But anyway, on August the 15th, 1943, a few months after she took me there--and all she did was take me there and get me in Sunday school and church and afterwards get me and bring me home. But I heard the Gospel, I understood what it meant to become a Christian and as a 7-and-a-half year-old boy, August 15, 1943, I went forward and made my profession of faith in Christ."
Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Barton Elementary School; Birmingham, Alabama; Calvary Baptist Church; Howard College; Phillips High School; Rayle, Georgia; Shades Mountain Baptist Church; South Highlands Hospital
Subjects: Dr. Carter describes his early years how a neighbor took him to church as a child, his conversion, his mother's church attendance, his father's unbelief and eventual belief.
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Partial Transcript: "And that same church, when I was a twelve-year-old boy, I felt God calling me to preach and I went forward and made that decision public, and that church nurtured me and gave me opportunities, even as a young teenager, to preach right there in the church and in the community."
Keywords: Beeson Divinity School; Bethel Baptist Church; Birmingham, Alabama; First Baptist Church; Harmony Baptist Church; Jemison, Alabama; Pleasant Grove, Alabama; Providence Baptist Church
Subjects: Dr. Carter talks about when he first felt called to be pastor at age 12, and how his church helped him in this calling, nurturing him and giving him opportunities. He tells of how his sense of calling was worked out through his teenage years and into his early 20s.
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Partial Transcript: "And anyway, I went and taught at Helena for a year and lived in Montevallo and had a little church about six miles outside of Montevallo. The school was about 15 miles up from Montevallo and at the end of that year I had saved up enough money to pay off what debts I had and get married and we put all of our belongings in a little U-Haul trailer and took off to Louisville, Kentucky and went to seminary up there."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Charter gives a brief sketch of several years in his early adulthood.
Keywords: Clanton, Alabama; Forestdale, Alabama; Helena, Alabama; Hillview Baptist Church; Howard College; Huntsville, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky; Montevallo, Alabama; Shades Mountain Baptist Church; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Whitesburg Baptist Church
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Partial Transcript: "Eleven of us who were preacher boys who were all at the same time at Phillips High School, and so the school in those days, and this would have been in the early to mid-50s, the early 50s, they let us have, we started what was called a Morning Watch. It was just a 15 minute, beginning the day before classes worship service. Voluntary attendance."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter discusses his interests as a kid/teenager. He tells about how he and other students led a short worship service for students at Phillips High School before classes each day.
Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Ensley High School; Harmony Baptist Church; Phillips High School; Pleasant Grove, Alabama; Ramsey High School; West End High School; Woodlawn High School
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Partial Transcript: "And then, my church had, through the church, they would periodically have several of the religion teachers would come and do Bible studies and supply preach and I had gotten to know them through that and so that was probably, as I look in retrospect, had as much to do with my selecting to go there."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter explains why he made his decision to attend Howard College.
Keywords: Baylor University; Beeson Divinity School; Birmingham, Alabama; Boutwell Auditorium; Howard College; Samford University; United States; Waco, Texas
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Partial Transcript: "Each of these men that I just described to you, particularly Davison, Bryan and Mabry Lunceford and about that time, Dr. Hudson Baggett came on the faculty (it was after I left). Those four particularly, oftentimes were interim pastors or did Bible studies in Alabama Baptist churches."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter recollects his Howard College religion professors, and he compares the Samford University religion department's current theological disposition with the theological disposition of the Howard College religion department when he was a student.
Keywords: Alabama; Beeson Divinity School; Shades Crest Baptist Church
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Partial Transcript: "Well, that is who I am. I'm not an extremist on either side but I have strong, conservative theological convictions, particularly about the authority and inspiration of the Bible. For instance, when I went to Southern Seminary I decided once and for all I had to decide what my posture would be on the Bible."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter explains his theological centrist disposition, and he gives his reasons for having this theological stance.
Keywords: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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Partial Transcript: "We used to say "If the termites quit holding hands, the building would fall in," because it was pretty much in disarray. So the campus was nothing, absolutely on a different planet from what the campus is today but it was a great place to be."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter shares his impressions and memories of Howard College's East Lake campus during his time as a student and his involvement in the student life on campus as commuter.
Keywords: Beeson Divinity School; Birmingham, Alabama; East Lake, Alabama; Riley Hall; Samford University; Shades Mountain Baptist
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Partial Transcript: "I was very appreciative of him as a teacher. I am trying to think of others that. . . I guess those would be the ones that stand out in my mind. One other one, I didn’t have but I appreciated him because he was the dean of the school. His name was P.P. Burns, Percy Burns."
Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; California; Dobbins Building; Golden Gate Seminary; Harwell Davis Library; Hoover, Alabama; Shades Mountain Baptist Church; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Subjects: Dr. Carter remembers different professors at Howard College.
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Partial Transcript: "I did not, but the fellow that I worked with at Harmony Church that pastored there did have him, Harper Shannon. I heard a lot about Dr. Sarkiss from Harper Shannon."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter discusses the impressions others had of professors Dr Sarkiss and Dr. Irons.
Keywords: Harmony Baptist Church; Samford University
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Partial Transcript: "John Pittman had high regard for Major Davis as a student. Part of that may be colored by the fact his wife was his secretary. Because of that he got to know him on a more intimate basis. I have always appreciated John Pittman. He's a dear friend of mine and a wonderful Christian layman and he had high regard for Major Davis."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter shares his opinions regarding Major Davis and other Howard/Samford presidents and also John Pittman.
Keywords: Alabama; Samford University
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Partial Transcript: "This friend of mine, James Jones, who’s the one that went to Baylor but then came back, he was pastor of that little country church and was actually dating my wife and he asked me to come down and do a revival and there's where I met her."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter talks about how he and his wife met, the schools she attended, her studies, and her graduation.
Keywords: Baylor University; Chilton County, Alabama; Clanton, Alabama; Georgetown College; Howard College; Huntington College; Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Nazareth Catholic College; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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Partial Transcript: "And I remember so well, used to, we would put the attendance on the wall in these little churches, that the Sunday that we begin that revival, we had 91 in Sunday school. This would have been in March of 1952 and little did I know what would happen--that less than 20 years later I would be the pastor."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter talks about his time at Shades Mountain Baptist Church before he was a pastor there and about his time as a pastor at that church.
Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Huntsville, Alabama; Miller's Chapel; Shades Mountain Baptist Church; Vestaview Lane
37:48 - Dr. Danny Wood and the Transition from Dr. Carter to Dr. Wood at Shades Mountain Baptist Church
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Partial Transcript: "And one night he called me from down there and he said, "You know when you tried to call me in the ministry?" I said, "I do." He said, “I think God's gotten into it now." And he told me that they had increasingly felt that God was leading them into Christian ministry so he resigned his position and they took off and headed to Southwestern Seminary."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter tells about Dr. Danny Wood's path to ministry and eventual pastoring of Shades Mountain Baptist Church. Dr. Carter recollects the transition between him and Dr. Wood.
Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Auburn University; Bell South Telephone Company; Briarlake Baptist Church; First Baptist Ruston; Mobile, Alabama; Prestonwood Baptist Church; Ruston, Louisiana; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Springhill Baptist Church
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Partial Transcript: "I made a commitment when I left the seminary that, because I saw problems in churches that I felt like were rooted not so much in Satan but just lack of communication, and so I made a commitment that every month before we had deacons’ meetings and finance committee meetings, I would meet with the two chairmen and go over the agenda..."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter discusses the relationship he had with the deacons and the finance committee while he pastored at Shades Mountain Baptist Church.
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Partial Transcript: "Well, we always had an annual Christmas pageant here. You've read about it and heard about it. Aubrey Edwards was our minister of music then. I think everyone in the church would say that that was one of the highlights of the year to them."
Segment Synopsis: Remembering his favorite memories at Shades Mountain Baptist, Dr. Carter talks about the church's annual Christmas pageant.
Keywords: Samford University; Wright Fine Arts Center
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Partial Transcript: "And the concept was to have kind of a mini-Billy Graham crusade in a local area. We went to Berry High School stadium and went on the football [field], got permission from the football coach to use the football field. Our choir sang, I did the preaching, we brought in a guest every night and we invited people all over."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter tells about his vision for and involvement in Starlite during his time pastoring at Shades Mountain Baptist Church.
Keywords: Berry High School; Berry Stadium; Dallas County, Alabama
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Partial Transcript: "I was angry, very angry because it was 12 hours after it happened that I was preaching it on the radio. I got death threats and threatening things because of that. But anyway, I'm still here today so nobody killed me. But because of that, it got the community aware how awful the KKK was and what they had done to a group, and the next time we had the youth rally we had more people there than ever before."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter talks about an encounter with the KKK and his own involvement in racial reconciliation, starting in the 1950s.
Keywords: America; Atlanta, Georgia; Beeson Divinity School; Birmingham, Alabama; Central City; Chilton County, Alabama; Clanton, Alabama; First Baptist Orlando; Liberty Hill Baptist Church; New City Church; Orlando, Florida; Providence Baptist Church; Samford University; Shades Mountain Baptist Church; University of Alabama at Birmingham; Willingham Hotel
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Partial Transcript: "I want you to know that if you call me as your pastor tonight and if a week from now and month from now or a decade from now a person of color walks the aisle of our church, we won't have a committee to consider it, we will accept them just like we would accept anybody else on their profession of faith in Christ or transferring their membership. I want you to know that's my posture."
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Carter discusses his stance concerning race relations and the position others held in Shades Mountain Baptist in the 1970s.
Keywords: Africa; Dobbins Building; Fellowship Hall; Samford University; Shades Mountain Baptist Church