By BOB PALMER,
The Rev. Ray Prince would rather talk about his new church, Mims Chapel Methodist, than about himself.
It’s not that he doesn’t have a few stories to tell.
You might get him to tell you the one about the lady and her goats.
And then there was the time in Thorndale when a man got ahead of the baptism service.
“We had the trough set up (for baptism by emersion) and the man jumped in before we were ready,” Prince recalled. “I had to raise him up.”
It’s the many church programs his rural congregation on the north shore of Lake O’ the Pines conduct that has Prince popping his suspenders.
“Mims Chapel has a program called Dry Dock,” Prince said.
“We work with the Tyler Food Bank and 50 to 60 people. They receive groceries, can goods, everything.”
Prince also serves the Warlock Rocky Springs church, a traditionally African American
“Mims Chapel and WRS are working together and sharing ministry,” Prince exclaimed.
Prayers and Squares is another mission of Mims Chapel.
Women of the church meet to sew lap quilts by hand.
“Each time they tie a thread, someone says a prayer,” Prince said.
The ladies have given away 476 quilts.
Prince noted the church also has active United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women. They are involved in a variety of activities including the Mims Fire Department Auxiliary.
Prince first felt the call to ministry in 1978. He became a Baptist minister and then moved to the Methodist church.
He grew up in Jacksonville and received his Associate Degree from Jacksonville College. He completed his theology course of study at SMU.
For many years, Prince was a part-time minister.
He has worked for the Texas Department of Corrections at the Beto Unit in Tennessee
Colony and was a shop superintendent manufacturing pre-fabricated structural steel buildings.
In his ministry, Prince has achieved one cherished goal.
“I’ve been fortunate that I have been able to baptize all of my children and my grandchildren and even my grandmother,” Prince said.
Although baptism remains important to Prince, he feels communion is the rite closest to
“Communion speaks most to me,” Prince said. “Many churches have closed communion. In Methodist Church, no matter your background or faith, you are allowed to come to our table.”
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