I have been somewhat absentee for the past few weeks with many things going on in my own life. Of course, we all face the troubles and trials of everyday life.
On January 8th I lost my Pastor. Not only has this been a man that I have looked up to for many years, I have been a fan of both him and his sister since the very first time I heard them sing in the 70’s.
Here’s my story: When I first moved to Burbank, CA in January of 2013 I began looking for a home church. I wasn’t trying to limit myself to only the denomination that I have been a part of most of my life, but, I visited several churches in the area. I never felt like I had found my home.
I got a call from a friend of mine in Nashville, TN., Rick Goodman who is the son of Howard and Vestal Goodman. We have been friends for several years and although it is a cherished friendship its also a treat to hear stories of my other idols and his life with them.
During our discussion, I explained to Rick that I was having some difficulties finding a church. He made the suggestion that I give Pastor Andrae Crouch’s church a try. After Googling Pastor Andrae I found New Christ Memorial Church in Pacoima, CA.
I attended the next morning. When I drove up I learned that this church was a Church Of God In Christ. I knew that doctrinally I was safe and had no fears where that was concerned.
I thoroughly enjoyed my very first service. Several people invited me to come to Wednesday night services and on my very first service those same people remembered my name. Obviously, I have been there ever since.
I enjoyed almost two years having Pastor Andrae as my Pastor. He and his twin sister Pastor Sandra Crouch have been great Pastors. Showing the love of Christ, expressing and demonstrating God’s love all the while maintaining a certain level of expectation from the membership of the church.
There are so many things that could be said about Pastor Andrae. There have been many comments and remembrances of him. Several mentions of his “star status”, many comments of his accomplishments, lots of adieu about his songwriting and numerous appearances on t.v., guest albums, etc.
Understandably, many people have mourned his passing. They knew him and his celebrity status. They knew of his powerful music and his very obvious effect on Gospel music as well as his contributions in reshaping the church and (if I may be so bold) he was also instrumental in bridging a gap into the white churches with some of the most powerful songs and hymns ever written.
I simply miss him as my Pastor. I miss his encouragement and smile.
Here’s the good news. Pastor Andrae also served with Pastor Sandra (his twin sister) as Senior Pastor. Pastor Sandra has stepped into her position alone for the first time and I have been very impressed with her abilities and stalwart attitude towards our church.
I think that I am so blessed. Not only have I had the opportunity to know one of my heroes, one of my other heroes is still in position.
On a side note: Senior Pastor Sandra Crouch is also a prolific songwriter who has won Grammy Awards of her own. She was the author of one of my favorite songs which follows.
Ric Overton from Burbank, CA