yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee
People of Action - 1969

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).  Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of the late Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

J. D. Wilford

By Lillye Younger

Desired To Be Minister

PARSONS, Tenn. — "As long as I can remember, I had the desire to be a minister," the Rev. J. D. Wilford, pastor of First Methodist Church at Parsons, said.

"I accepted Christ as my Saviour when I was eight and joined the Burnett's Chapel Methodist Church near Sedalia, Ky."

The Rev. Wilford, born at Sedalia, was the youngest of four children of William Terry and Imogene Dodd Wilford.

"My father had a great influence on my life," he said, "He was a devoted layman and steward of the church and often told me he donated his funds to the church, rather than to the individual minister."

Wilford graduated from Murray State College with an A.B. degree in psychology and philosophy. He said after he graduated from high school he worked two years to earn the money to attend college.

He married Rebecca Sykes in 1934 and they have three sons, Jasper D. Jr., who is employed at Cedar City, Utah; Walton Terry, who is with the State Department's foreign service and will leave soon for La Paz, Bolivia; and Sykes, a junior at Riverside High School.

"My greatest ambition now is to be a Christian minister by preaching to the best of my ability to my congregation and rear my family to be honorable and successful Christian citizens," the minister said.

He has been pastor of churches in Tennessee, Kentucky and Utah. During World War II, he was a chaplain for three years at A.S.F. Regional State Hospital in Fort Ord, Calif.

"I am an optimist and think that more people are concerned about better ways of living, but I am not overlooking the unrest and crime in the world and indifference toward God and the church," he added. "Since the war, the whole world has been going through a cultural, religious, political and economical revelation. They will use any method to accomplish it.

"I have no idea what the purpose is for going to the moon, but I do know God is there. He is concerned with outer space and since man was created in the image of God it becomes man's business to cooperate with Him."

Wilford said the day in the life of a minister is very busy, and challenging and rewarding.

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