Canal Heights hires new preacher

Published 6:16 am Friday, December 24, 2010

The church of Christ at Canal Heights has named a new preacher following the departure of former pulpit minister Justin Paschall earlier this month. The replacement for Paschall, who left the congregation to move closer to his West Tennessee roots, will be Carl Jenkins.

“He fell in love with everybody here and everybody here fell in love with him was one thing,” Greg Myers, an elder of the congregation, said of Jenkins’ appeal. “But the most important thing is that he has a Bible education we know we can count on.”

Jenkins is a 2008 graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching, the same institution that produced Paschall and currently provides work for B.J. Clark, who was the featured speaker for the congregation’s September gospel meeting.

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Jenkins accepted the offer only two days after his Dec. 12 tryout with the congregation.

“A lot of time congregations tend to wait and shop around a bit, so to get a call back two days later was a bit unexpected,” Jenkins said.

“We actually had a tryout the following weekend. But we accepted (the offer) because we enjoyed (the congregation) so much that we didn’t want to risk losing it.”

The quick turnaround in filling the pulpit vacancy came as an unexpected blessing for the congregation, which endured nearly a year without a full-time preacher during its last search.

“It’s a big blessing. And it’s surprising because we only had to go through two men (who tried out for the position). But in a way, it’s not surprising because I already knew what kind of men they were because of what Justin told me,” Myers said.

Jenkins’ familiarity with Paschall aided in the hiring process as the outgoing preacher was able to provide a strong personal recommendation for his successor. That familiarity also helped Jenkins feel at ease with the congregation.

“From what Justin said, I knew they were a pretty laid back congregation, not in laziness, but in terms of being easygoing,” Jenkins said. “We expected a laid back group of people who treated each other like family and that’s what we found.”

Jenkins is set to arrive in Demopolis Jan. 8, less than three weeks after Paschall’s departure.

“The church here is much stronger since Justin came because they have heard the kind of preaching people heard in New Testament days,” Myers said. “Carl is going to pick up right where he left off.”

Jenkins said he hopes to continue building on Paschall’s work but also added that he has some other ideas to help the work of Canal Heights.

“I also want to try and create a Web site. I know the congregation doesn’t have an official one. That is one of my biggest early goals,” Jenkins said. “I guess more on the spiritual side of things, I just want to help people continue to grow, get more into the Word and walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.”