Sunday, September 23, 2018
News Roundup

Retirement on hold for new pastor at Turning Point Church of the Nazarene

BROOKSVILLE — The Rev. Kenneth McLellan may be 82 years old, but he's still going strong. Last month, he accepted the position as pastor of Turning Point Church of the Nazarene.

When the church's former pastor planned his retirement for late last year, the small congregation called on McLellan and his wife, Ginger, for help. The couple had ministered at the church before, when he served for a short while as the associate pastor. The McLellans said they would pray about the request.

"We were eating and sleeping and praying all night until finally, we felt that God wouldn't let us let this go," Kenneth McLellan said. "We made our decision that we would do it because God told us to."

With a successful ministry that was launched when he began preaching on the streets of Toronto at age 15 and that continued through decades of singing in gospel concerts, pastoring several churches and doing missions work — with Ginger at his side for the past 24 years — no one would have thought less of the McLellans had they wanted to retire.

"It was just one of those small churches that was losing momentum, and attendance was declining," McLellan said. "We got a burden for those people and didn't like the sound of it closing."

He preached his first sermon as the church's pastor Jan. 3.

It was in 1949 that a teenage McLellan preached his first street sermon. He had been inspired by the preaching of a then relatively unknown young evangelist named Billy Graham.

"I was always at Youth for Christ, and Billy Graham was one of our speakers fairly often," McLellan said. "He also spoke at our church. That was before he ever had his crusades."

McLellan had already decided at age 10 to become a missionary. But before venturing into the mission field, he was asked by a young couple to join them in forming a gospel singing trio. The threesome became the Canadian Viscounts, which later became an all-male quartet that went on to record several albums and win four Canadian Gospel Music Awards.

By 1984, McLellan had set his music ministry aside to begin mission work in Pakistan and India. Later, he would lead mission teams to Haiti, meeting Ginger, who was a team member on one of the trips. By then a widower, McLellan seemed perfectly matched with this dedicated Christian woman who also had a heart for missions. The two married and continued their travels to Haiti. Along the way, McLellan pastored churches in Nova Scotia, Maine and Florida, and the couple began touring as a gospel singing couple.

With the weighty responsibilities of a pastor, McLellan says he and Ginger will no longer travel. A recent concert given for the benefit of Child Evangelism was one of only a few that they will be able to fit in with their pastoral duties. For now, they both hope to help their new church grow in number while making sure it's "a very family-oriented and loving place."

McLellan noted they've gained one person each week for the past two Sundays.

"If we did that every Sunday for a year, we'd have half the church filled," McLellan said.

The church is traditional, which means the music will lean toward a Southern gospel style, McLellan said.

"Some of the old camp meeting style music that's in some of our hymn books fits us very well," he said. "Some of the old hymns have tremendous messages in them. If you don't drag them, and just tap your foot and sing along, some of them can be pretty peppy."

Musicians, such as a piano player, are very much needed.

"We're looking for musical people, for children's teachers. I guess we're almost looking for a whole staff," McLellan said.

And he's been giving a strong message to his congregation, telling them they need to be a spiritual hospital, willing to minister to drunks and prostitutes.

"We've always been rescue people, and I guess that's why we did the work we did in Haiti," he said. "We're treating this very much like that. We want to find people who might not be accepted anywhere else. If they want to stumble in our door dead drunk, we'll coffee them up and tell them about Jesus."

Services at the church are at 10:45 a.m. Sundays and at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Comments
USF assistant VP rides AHN wave of support to success

USF assistant VP rides AHN wave of support to success

Editor’s note: Academy of the Holy Names junior Tress Jacobs spent the summer of 2018 shadowing Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper. To conclude the experience, she interviewed Academy alumnus Kim Wilmath Hill and filed this report.By Tres...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to  testify at Kavanaugh hearing

Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to testify at Kavanaugh hearing

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, her lawyers said Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Stolen smokes: Florida man gets 20 years for cigarette theft

Stolen smokes: Florida man gets 20 years for cigarette theft

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Florida man who stole $600 worth of cigarettes from a convenience store has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison.A jury in Pensacola convicted 48-year-old Robert Spellman of burglary and grand theft in August. Authori...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

One of the dominant storylines heading into Monday Night Football between the first-place Buccaneers and the last-place Steelers will be the things we didn’t expect to see. It’s the team that usually melts down against the team that actua...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Jays, with Snell seeking No. 21

For starters: Rays at Jays, with Snell seeking No. 21

UPDATE, 12:14: Snell takes the mound today leading the AL in wins, ERA (1.97) and opponents average (.179). … Cash noted that Snell "is in elite company now with the Rays, and he has the chance to stand alone." …  The Rays note that ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Florida’s new top team

Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Florida’s new top team

After four full weekends of college football, here's what I know:There is one great team (Alabama). There are three very good teams (Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson).After that? There are a lot of flawed teams with messy results that seem bunched tog...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: Driver kills Brandon cyclist, 73, in hit-and-run

Deputies: Driver kills Brandon cyclist, 73, in hit-and-run

BRANDON — A cyclist died in what authorities said is a hit-and-run crash, according to the Hillsborough County Sherrif’s Office.John Dilgard, 73, was riding a mountain bike southbound on Kings Avenue S about 12:42 a.m., the agency reported.A vehicle ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Police: Car runs red light, killing woman on motor scooter in St. Petersburg

Police: Car runs red light, killing woman on motor scooter in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman died after a driver ran a red light on 5th Avenue N and hit her motor scooter early Sunday morning, police reported.Vallis Ann Oswain, 58, was driving the scooter northbound on 8th Street N about 2:22 a.m. She also carried a ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Weather: Expect a sunny Sunday, with clear evening ahead

Weather: Expect a sunny Sunday, with clear evening ahead

It may be the first weekend of fall, but it’ll still feel like the dog days of summer in Tampa Bay. The forecast predicts a sunny Sunday, with a high near 95 degrees and a low of 74. There is a 60 percent chance of rain.Tonight, expect a mostly clear...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Vehicle crashes into Tampa Havoline Xpress Lube, sets building ablaze, fire officials report

Vehicle crashes into Tampa Havoline Xpress Lube, sets building ablaze, fire officials report

TAMPA — A vehicle crashed into a Havoline Xpress Lube early Saturday morning, sparking flames that engulfed the structure, fire officials reported.According to Tampa Fire Rescue, multiple people called 911 about 2:40 a.m, reporting the fire on the 50...
Updated: 4 hours ago