|All of the heroes are not on the battlefield, or as the poet says it, “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its fragrance on the desert air.” Some of the noblest souls especially in the ministry never serve the largest churches. They do not preach to the large congregations. Their ministry consists of what Jesus used to describe them, “They went about doing good.” Such was Percy Emanuel.
Born in Lorman, Mississippi on March 29, 1915, he came from sturdy farm stock, so he developed early a love for the world in which he lived. It was from this quiet setting that he was able to hear the Call of God to the Methodist Ministry. Interestingly, God does not call one without making special preparation for him to succeed, so He also prepared a little girl, a minister’s daughter, Sara Maud Grice to be his helper. They were married November 12, 1942. To this union were born three children: Samuel Paul, Robert Lewis, and Sarah Carol Emanuel. These rise up and call them blessed.
Percy received his education in the public schools of Mississippi and then attended Millsaps College, a Methodist School in Jackson. He did his seminary work at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His early appointments were in the Mississippi Conference. He also served as a Naval Chaplain during World War II. In 1946 he transferred to Louisiana, and through his ministry until his retirement in June 1980 he served appointments throughout the whole state of Louisiana. He even served a year past retirement, so strong was his Call to Preach.
The people of Plaquemine provided a lovely home for a retired minister and Percy and Sara occupied it until his death in December, 1990. His death was like his life--full of gentleness and peace. He had been in the hospital in Lake Charles with pneumonia. He had also enjoyed the company of his children when, as was said of Richmond Nolley, “the Angels overtook him and he woke up in the land of Beulah.”
Percy represented the best in the Methodist Ministry. We believe we have a great system of making appointments for our Ministers, but it works because men like Percy and their helpers like Sara make it work. He never cried over his appointments, but went where he was sent and did the best he could with whatever he had to work.
“Well done thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over these small things, I will make thee ruler over greater. Enter into the joys of thy Lord...”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1991, p. 234 By Jolly B. Harper|