Matters of Faith 65 years in the pulpit - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Matters of Faith 65 years in the pulpit

Matters of Faith 65 years in the pulpit

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Imagine doing a job for more than 65 years.

Dr. Belon Friday has done just that.

He's performed more than 3- thousand weddings,

performed about 34- hundred weddings and buried almost 3 thousand people.

But even though he's retiring... he isn't showing signs of slowing down.


He says, "I have a lot of things on my bucket list haha."

86 year old Dr. Belon Friday is battling cancer... but isn't letting that slow him down.

He recently went to the gulf for a deep sea fishing excursion.

We had a ball we caught king mackerel a bunch of em it was a lot of


Joy, being a friend and a commitment to helping others has been a life long passion.

But even though he recently retired for the third time... he is still in the business of delivering the word.

Dr. Friday recently retired but soon after he was guest preaching at

another church!

Belon: "Douglas Macarthur said old soldiers never die they just fade away.

Old preachers never really quit. You just do as long as the good Lord lets you


He recently gave a sermon at an all black church.

Dr. Friday: " One of my dearest friends is Al Lewis... pastor in west end.

I have a deep seeded conviction that the only way we are gonna get

rid of prejudice is to do it through friendship, through relationships. get to

know each other."

During the civil rights struggle... Dr. Belon Friday was quietly doing his part to help fight injustice.

Dr. Friday: "I was in Wadley Alabama... and the black people couldn't get coal to burn

in their one room school . the county neglected em see.

I hired some to help build a church.

They were telling me they would have to leave their children at home cuz they

can't go in the dead of winner, no coal.

I went to the county superintendent and I said this is immoral to treat people in any

such manner. We got something done.

I've just been a steady soldier for better relationships."

He played football and basketball at Auburn University when he was drafted into World War II.

He says, "I got my draft papers I got 30 days to report.

The war was raging so when you got your papers you had to go

right quick. We wound up at perilous it was terrible the first marine dive we lost

ten thousand Marines.... went in with medical supplies.. met opposition had

some casualties. Japan, that's where we were when the atomic bomb was dropped."

Just weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped... he was walking through the wreckage.

Dr. Friday: " I had picturess of Hiroshima and Nagasaki...the two cities bombed with

atomic bombs."

What he saw during war and experienced during the civil rights movement... led him to preach how important it is to settle differences and not hate.

What he saw changed him forever.

He says, "It did because war is a such a barbaric was to settle differences.

Thousands of young lives sacrificed in war it gets to you very much so.

If you wage peace instead of war it makes a lot of difference."

Dr. Friday is a part of the faith history of Alabama... he preached at dozens of churches over more than 6 decades.

The first church was the Miller Villa circuit 8 churches... I was taking a full

load as a student at Auburn.

I'd preach 5 times each Sunday... get an my car drive from auburn to clay


Highland Methodist and St. Mark... were two in the Birmingham area where he served.

he also served as a district superintendent in the Methodist church.

Dr. Friday: " I said to the people at Highlands when I reached 62 that's the age

of retirement.. but 65 seemed like a good number I'd been there 16

years.. but before the week was out the bishop asked me to go up to

Asheville for 6 months cuz the minister had been ill.. I wound up that 6

mos became 16 yrs.

Then I retired again and my home church up at Bear Creek ..called and

they needed some help. so I went up there for the last 4 yrs of my


This time I'm retiring and quitting too. I've tried to make my life a commitment.. no turning back.this was to be

my life.. a lot of stick toitevness.

The ministry has been a great joyous adventure for me.

He says his proudest accomplishment? his children...... all are serving either in missions or in ministry of some kind."

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