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Spotlight on Members of Saint James: Mr. Richard Glover, Lay Reader
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Posted on Sun, Feb 6, 2005
Black History Month Special
The Members of Saint James - Featuring This Edition: Mr. Richard Glover, Lay Reader. Check back here monthly for other featured members.
This is a snapshot of the life of Mr. Richard Glover, one of our Lay Readers at St James AME church. The purpose of this article is to savor and record some of the history of our church and also to serve as an inspiration to us all. As we watch this man sing hymns in our choir on Sundays with such ebullient joy and discover a little bit about his life, we say THANK YOU GOD for this glorious man; we truly cherish his spirit. He serves as leader to us all!
Mr. Richard Glover was born in Durant, Mississippi in 1938 to God-fearing, Baptist parents. He was one of nine children and emphasized that although his parents were strict and home life was disciplined, his childhood was fun and so dear to him that in some ways he hated to grow up. His father was both a truck driver and a Baptist minister and his mother took domestic day work and both taught in the Sunday school. The Bible and the importance of education were the dominant values in the Glover household. The children all learned their Bible and school lessons - this was the household law. Six of the nine children went to college - that's a testimony to his parents.
In Mississippi in 1938, segregation and racism were a way of life. Even though his parents tried to protect and shield him, everyone knew "their place." For example, he could attend a movie with the white population, but the black population had to sit in the back. Mr. Glover's school was segregated and considered "separate but equal." He states this well known phrase with a smile, full of pathos. However, since the class sizes were small and his parents insisted the children master their school lessons, he was very fortunate to have gotten an excellent education, irregardless of the circumstances.
As the Civil Rights movement was just beginning, Mr. Glover attended Jackson State University on scholarship for music and football. He played center on the offense and linebacker on the defense. He majored in biology and received a Bachelor of Science degree. Although his college education was supposed to exempt him from the draft, our government drafted him anyway and he spent four years serving in the army. His unit was integrated and he did get a chance to go to Paris, France. Returning stateside to Illinois, he was hired by and worked 34 years for the American Can Company as a chemist in their food department.
Although Mr. Glover relates that racism was a way of life, he was fortunate that he did not experience any racially motivated violence first hand. It seems miraculous that none of his family or neighbors was hurt during the Civil Rights movement, which was not well received in Mississippi. Although his childhood town was segregated, he states that he felt safe and that he was never denied anything. He only remembers one incident, when his college choir was traveling and stopped at a small town Tasty Freeze, that not only were they denied access, but they were escorted out of town by men brandishing shotguns. He relates this story in a matter of fact tone, seemingly harboring no hurt or anger, unless he has just buried it too deep or found a way to forgive the ignorance of others.
Mr. Glover married his beautiful wife, Wanda in 1969 and they raised three girls and one boy. Wanda had a Catholic background, but they both joined the AME church in 1981. Although Mr. Glover was an active member of his church through out his entire life, at times it served as a social venue. He relates that his sacred conversion to Christianity was more of a process than a single event. The more he learned to pray and as God answered his prayers, his faith just grew stronger in him. One of his favorite Bible stories is the life of Job with one message being that we all should wait on God to reveal Himself and His purposes to us and to trust God always regardless of the circumstances. One of his favorite hymns is "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow" also a testimony to his faith.
As Mr. Glover's parents taught him to "do what you have to do" and encouraged all their children to do/be whatever they wanted to do/be, so he passes this encouragement onto our youth at St. James. His other advice for us is to guard our tongues and be cheerful and don't dwell on minor disappointments. These lessons serve us all well, not just our children.
So now, the Catholic girl with the stylish hats and the Baptist boy from Mississippi have become stalwart members and guiding elders of our AME church, and we say THANK YOU GOD!
I truly enjoyed this articcle on Mr. Richard Glover. Though we have talked many times, we never talked about the things revealed in this article. I have a newer founf repect for Mr. Glover, and I pray that God continues to keep his arms of protection on this great man.
Lamar Boyd II
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