The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana on August 19, 1995 · Page 8
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The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana · Page 8

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Saturday, August 19, 1995
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A8 SATURDAY, AUG. 19,1995 RELIGION KOKOMO TRIBUNE Mother of five dies from snakebite at church Preachers praise the 28-year-old for willingness to die for her faith By FRED BROWN Scripps Howard News Service NEWPORT, Tenn. — Melinda Brown's relatives and in-laws mourned on separate sides of the chapel beneath a cascade of floral wreaths. Law officers attended the funeral, just to be sure hard feelings didn't erupt. Two preachers praised the 28- year-old mother of five as a woman willing to die for her faith. In fact, she did, going the way many in her religion say they hope to die — from the bite of a venomous snake. Brown was bitten by a rattlesnake Sunday in a Middlesboro, Ky., worship service at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name. She died Tuesday. Police say charges may be filed against the Middlesboro minister, but the Rev. Jamie Coots says he answers to a higher law. "It's just a misdemeanor," said Coots. "It wouldn't bother me none if it was a felony. It's still the Word. When man's law crosses God's law, we go with God." Brown was the 76th person to die from a snakebite since the church was founded in 1900, according to Dr. David Kimbrough, religious history scholar and an expert on serpent-handling believers. The Rev. Carl Porter of Kingston, Ga., one of the ministers eulogizing the dead woman, was at the church when Melinda took the black rattler from another member. It snaked across her left arm and sank its fangs just below her left elbow. Melinda was married to John W. "Punkin" Brown Jr., a widely known snake-handling evangelist. Her father-in-law is John Brown, who has a church in Marshall, N.C. Porter, who has one of the largest churches in the faith, said Melinda Brown was "following the signs," as proclaimed in the Bible. "Sister Melinda lost her life because she believed in the Lord. And anyone who does not know the Word (as the handlers' perceive it), should respect those who do. "She put everything on the line. All of it was on the line as her husband tried to get her to go to a doctor. She refused because she said she would trust in the Lord." 'Sister Melinda lost her life because she believed in the Lord' Carl Porter, a minister The family controversy centers on custody of the Brown's five children, age 10 years to about nine months. Melinda's relatives entered the chapel last, holding hands and escorting the children, who had been removed from the father's home in Parrottsville, Tenn., by Juvenile Referee C. Philip Owens. Elaine Hartsell, Cocke County chief deputy, said he and members of the Newport Police Department were present to provide escort for funeral services and to prevent any problems between the two families. A court hearing has been set to determine the future of the children. Owens said the question is whether the children are at risk by staying with their father. Brown travels often to snake- handling churches across the Southeast and was featured in the recent book, "Salvation on Sand Mountain," by Dennis Covington. "We can look at alternative places to place the children, whether with a relative or not, or with the father if positive assurance can be given that nothing will happen to the children," Owens said. "My primary concern is to ensure the safety and welfare of the children. "I want to be open-minded about this. People are free to exprew their religious beliefs. But I feel we have to waive that (right) when it comes to the welfare of the children." Punkin Brown complained tearfully that his children were taken from his home Without his knowledge. He said he was making funeral arrangements when social workers removed his children. "The Department of Human Services came in and took my kids out one at a time and asked them if they wanted to stay with me or their grandmother, and they said they wanted to stay with me," Brown said. (Fred Brown is a reporter for The News-Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn.) Spiritual experience Came through illness petbel tabernacle, Cburcb^Go^ (m flssemM Psychologist says she heard God talk through pastor's words By SHELLEY GONZALES Scripps Howard News Service HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — There were days when Lael Melville couldn't muster the strength to stand and walk across the room. As she lay on the couch, she could see people jogging outside and her tears would well. Lyme disease from a tick bite two years ago drained her of energy and she longed to return to her former hectic life as a psychologist, volunteer, consultant, college professor and mother. On Aug. 6, she ran 20 miles through Highlands Ranch in celebration of good health and in thanks to God. Melville, 35, began to emerge from the dark days just six weeks ago. Late one night when she couldn't sleep, she played a tape of a sermon by her pastor, Tim Bagwell. "It was about the strength of the blood of Jesus and all the many reasons he was sent here for us," she said. "This wasn't any thing new. I had heard these things many, many times before." But that night, Melville said, she experienced a deeper, spiritual understanding of the pastor's words about Jesus the healer. She said she "really heard God speaking." "I got it," Melville said with the radiance of a child who just figured out how to ride a two-wheeler. "It was so clear to me. I got it. "Doctors can administer treatment to someone who is sick but only God heals," she said. "When I accepted that, I knew I was no longer sick." Melville, who had been to a neurologist, internal medicine specialist and a homeopath during the course of her illness, said she immediately began to feel better. "The next week I had on my running shoes," she said. Her family, friends and doctors were amazed. A CAT scan showed no brain scarring and all tests for the disease have come up negative, she said. Melville, who has degrees from Princeton and Rutgers universities and was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, brushes off skeptics. "I'm a psychologist. I know what an auditory hallucination is ... I talked to God." Lyme disease is common in the northeastern United States where the Melville family lived before moving to Colorado in 1993. Symptoms range from headaches and fevers to debilitating fatigue, brain inflammation and heart damage. Bagwell, pastor at the Word of Life Christian Center in Littleton, Colo., said Melville's sudden turn didn't surprise him. "You realize down deep as a minister you're taking what the Ixjrd has already said and try to relay it to people so Hearing impaired to listen to Pope BALTIMORH (Al>) - Kven the hearing impaired will be able to "listen" to Pope John Paul 11 when he visits in October, the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced. Volunteer sign language interpreters will relay the pope's speeches, including his Mass at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Oct. 8. "The Holy Father wants to bring his message of faith and hope to everyone, and we are committed to doing that for thousands of people in this region who arc hearing impaired," said Cardinal William H. Keeler, who commissioned the service. Five sign teams will accompany the pope throughout his daylong visit. The hearing and speech unpaired will also be able to coin municate with volunteer staffers during the pope's visit through a telephone typewriter service. Tm a psychologist. I know what an auditory hallucination is ... / talked to God.' Lael Melville, psychologist, professor that it has some meaning in their lives," he said. "And you hope that words that rattle around in their heads become words that come alive in their hearts." Melville, despite never having run long distances before, has been in training and plans to run 20 miles to celebrate God. Melville's determination has inspired many of her neighbors, who plan to join her on the last five-mile leg of the run. More will join at the five-mile mark, including one of her young sons, Sterling. The group will meet at the Melville home for a finish line party. (Shelley Gonzalez is a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver.) Pastor Dave Cornelius & the entire church invites you to a Day of Celebration. We will be celebrating our new church. Come and be a part of this special day. Bethel Tabernacle has relocated to a new sanctuary on St. Rd 26. Come and see what the Lord has done. Directions: 1/2 mile west of U.S. 31 on St. Rd. 26 Dedication Service 10:00 am Sunday August 20 Sunday Night Service 6:00 pm Located on 20 beautiful acres on St. Rd. 26 Open house from 1:00 to 5:00 that same day August 20, 1995 Cbeme: £o Oo& Be Glory White's Quality Meat Market 2 Convenient Locations 46W-400S, St. Rd. 26 453-3554 21 00 N.Washington 452-0587 MARTIN BROTHERS TV & APPLIANCE Superstore Guaranteed Lowest Prices! RUSSIAVILLE 883-5551 Listen To Singing Nicholsons on WWK/-FM Radio Sundays 8:00 AM., Sponsored by Dolphin Water *j Dolphin Water <P5 Systems & Service r i 7 E. Center Rd (300S) Kokomo, IN Ph.317-455-3775 "Bad Water? Bad Service? Call Dolphin. Wo Remove Both! FREEMWITESTINGI GLENl^DALE AIR SERVICE Cessna Pilot Center Flight training/Rental 3460 S. - 400 W. Kokomo, IN 46902 317-883-5440 STOUT & SON RUSSIAVILLE FUNERAL HOME Phone 883-51 22 HOME FURNISHING Phone 883-71 72 RUSSIAVILLE AREA CHURCHES WestMiddleton United Methodist 2428S. - Rd. 480W. (Hobson Street) Church 883-7136 Jim Long, Pastor Sunday Worship 9 a.m. Sunday School 10 a.m. Wednesday Night Brown Bag Supper 6:30 pm Bible Study 7-8 p.m. Honey Creek Missionary Baptist Church 250 Nashville St. Russlavllle, IN 46979 Ph. 883-7779 Pastor Rev. Melvln Eller Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Worship Service 11:00 a.m. Sunday Night Worship 6:00 p.m. Tuesday Youth Meeting 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Thursday Midweek Service .7p.m. Ladies Meeting First Wed 6p.m. Brotherhood Meeting Second Wed 7p.m. Russiaville First Baptist Church 260 W. Main Russiaville, IN 46979 Ph. 883-5079 Ron DeGraatt, Pastor Sunday School 9:15 a.m. Worship 10:25 a.m. Sunday Evening 5:00 p.m. Wednesday - Prayer Meeting7:00 p.m. Children's Ministry 7 p.m. 3rd Tuesday Ladies Missionary Fellowship 6:30 p.m. New London Friends Meeting 2104S.CR766W. " Russlavllle, IN 46979 Ph. 883-5352 5. Ann Carter, Pastor "Where Faith Encounters Life" Sunday School ................ 9:30 a.m. Worship ......................... 10:30 a.m. ......................... . (2nd Sunday of month 10:15a.m.) (Call for Schedule) USFW Meeting — 3rd Thursday of Each Month ......................... 1:30 Mondays & Thursdays Church open for walking 10-11 a.m. & 6-7 p.m. Fair Havens Christian Missionary Alliance 1216S.-300W., Malfalfa Road Church Ph. 453-1256 Pastor Ph. 457-7854 Key. JohnZwIm, Pastor Sunday School 9:15 a.m. Morning Worship 10:30 a.m. Sunday Youth Groups 5:00 p.m. Evening Worship 6:00 p.m. Russiaville Friends Church 270 E. Main Russlavllle, IN 46979 JofforyD. Blackburn, Pastor Ph. 883-5986 Parsonage Ph. 883-5767 Sunday School 9:15 a m Worship 10:30 a.m. USFW Women's Meetings IstThurs. of month 9:30 a.m. Youth Group Meetings 2nd & 4th Sunday 5:30 p m Ages 7-12 Grades Main Street Christian Church 120 W. Main —Box 155 Russiaville, IN 46979 Church Ph. 883-5265 & 883-5260 Fellowship Bldg. Ph. 883-7613 Mark Matthews, Minister Craig Taylor, Associate Minister Sunday, August 20 Worship 9a.m. Sunday School 10:45 a.m. Monday, August 21 Aerobics Mon-Wed-Fri 4:30 p.m. WestMiddleton Friends Church Alto Road In West Mlddleton, IN Pastor: Terry Lyklns 455-3401 Sunday Worship Service 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday School 10:30-11:30 a.m. Church Fellowship 7:00 p.m. Russiaville United Methodist Church 180 North Union St. Russlavllle, IN 46979 Ph. 883-5282 Sunday Church School 9:30 a.m. Worship 10:30 a.m. Sr. High group meeting on 2nd & 4th Sundays for Devotions-games. Tuesday 1 st Tuesday of each month United Methodist Women 7 p.m. Wednesday Women's Bible Study 9:00 a.m. Thursday Sr. High Youth group meeting in home of member 7:45-8:30 p.m. Jr. High Youth meeting at Church 6:30-7:30 p.m. Movie Matinee for Community 3rd Saturday of each month Youth will be selling T-shirts In August. Worship at the Church of your Choice IF YOUR IDEAS DIFFER FROM OTHERS, TELL THEM SO While attending a meeting on civic affairs And you find your ideas are different than theirs, You must try to convenience every member who cares, And you'll prove it beyond any doubt; For there may be some merit in what you have to say, From the facts and the figures you put on display, So that some of the members will see it your way; That you know what you're talking about. At the place of your worship, the lessons dispersed Show that many ideas were laughed at at first; So let God give you courage, though fearing the worst, Then you won't be afraid to speak out. — Gloria Nowak Consensus is the ultimate negation "... God hath given me the tongue of the of leadership. learned, that! should know how to — Margaret Thatcher s ? eak a word in season..." — Isaiah 50:4

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