A local pastor was recently honored for his 50 years of pastoral ministry.

The Gasconade Baptist Church of Dixon honored the Rev. Lawrence Chatman with a June 25 surprise party. Chatman resides in Evening Shade.

Chatman, who recently turned 65, was led to believe that the party was for the annual church birthday. The church is 106 years old. Invitations were sent to former pastorates and family members. A large crowd attended.

The church provided a meal of pulled pork and fried chicken with trimmings. There were also many cakes, including a guitar cake, cross cake, birthday cake with 65 candles and a 106-year church cake.

A display table featured photos of Chatman’s family and churches he pastored. Photos of his life were presented through a slideshow. The church choir sang and the band played several gospel songs with the pastor playing lead guitar and helping sing with his bass voice. There were also several guest musicians and singers.

The pastor’s brother, the Rev. Truman Chatman who is a retired missionary to Peru, brought the message. The church presented Lawrence Chatman with a plaque for his 50 years of service.

Lawrence Chatman, son of the Rev. Roscoe Chatman, dedicated his life the Lord at age 12 in the Ackerman Baptist Church near Poplar Bluff, where his father pastored. He began preaching at age 13 in associational youth meetings and supplying the pulpit at various churches.

At age 15, he was called to pastor the Bethany Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff. He was licensed to preach in 1961. Chatman was ordained at the South Greenfield Baptist Church, where he pastored in 1968. He graduated from Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Ark. He also received two degrees from Southwest Baptist University and attended Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City.

The Rev. Chatman has pastored full time as well as bivocational churches with his school teaching jobs over the years.

He and his wife, Jeanne, have three children and 10 grandchildren.

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