31 May 2006

Farewell to Dr. Paul Brown

Today is a sad day. Today I learned my close friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Brown, has died from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Paul and I had been emailing one another a couple of times a day and for the past 12 months or so I had been emailing my sermons to Paul to get his suggestions for improvement. Paul had recently retired as Professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary which is where I got to know him. He was the professor who helped me with my D.Min. final project which was about preaching New Testament apocolyptic literature. From our intense interaction on that project we developed a close friendship. Now Paul, age 72 years, has gone home. He was hit by a big truck on his way to preach at the small church in Paragould, Arkansas where he served as Interim Pastor. Anyone who ever rode with Paul behind the wheel will not be surprised to learn he died in an automobile accident. I keenly remember the day I rode with him down Union Avenue in Memphis enroute to Beale Street after one of our D.Min. seminars. He had a certain freedom in his driving ... but then Paul had a certain freedom in everything he did. He was full speed ahead whether it was marching for justice or commenting on the appalling state of American politics or preaching the Word of God. Man, I will miss you. Thank you for all you gave me. You taught me how to preach, Paul. For that I will be forever grateful. See you upstairs sometime. Later, dude.

Dr. Paul Brown, a retired professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary and Cumberland Presbyterian minister, died Monday evening at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He was 72. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 31 at Canale Funeral Home, 2700 Union Ext. Services will be held Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m. at Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett. Burial will follow at Mt. Comfort Cemetery in Hickory Valley, TN. Dr. Brown is survived by his wife, Beverly Pepper Brown; daughter, Shelley Brown; son, Chris Brown; daughter-in-law, Fontaine Taylor Brown; two grandsons, Christopher Thaxton and Paul Nolan, all of Memphis; and his sister Betty Foster of Kerrville, Texas. Dr. Brown, who received his Th.D. from Boston University School of Theology, was the first pastor of Germantown Cumberland Presbyterian Church and facilitated its construction. He served as pastorate for numerous congregations throughout the mid-south and was an active participant in a number of social causes. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Memphis Theological Seminary at 168 E. Parkway So., Memphis, TN 38104 or Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett, TN 38133.

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