|In the summer of 1908, the late Rev. Martin Hebert held a revival meeting in an abandoned store near Houma that became a brush arbor. After several days of preaching, he asked for commitments to Christ as Lord. Fifty-nine people, led by a ten-year-old boy, came and knelt at the altar. That boy was James A. Knight. Rev. Martin thought the congregation had misunderstood the invitation—so he had them sit down while he explained the invitation again. He opened the invitation, and again the fifty-nine came forward and joined the Methodist Church.
James A. Knight was born December 20, 1897, at Bourg, La. of Alcide Knight, father, and Marie Matherne Knight, mother. After Brother Hebert’s revival, the Bayou Blue Church was formed and chartered (now the LaGrange U.M.C.), and Brother Knight grew up in that congregation. Since there was no high school in that area at the time, he entered Centenary College in Shreveport, where he finished high school and college. Brother Knight waited tables in the cafeteria and worked odd jobs to pay for his education.
Later he met a beautiful young lady from south of Bunkie, Miss Sunshine Young. After their marriage James answered his call to the ministry and was admitted to the Louisiana Annual Conference in 1923. He continued his conference education work, which led to his ordination as Deacon in 1927 and Elder in 1929. The Knights served the Melville charge, the Eunice charge, Indian Bayou-Kaplan, Kinder-Oberlin, Calhoun, Marksville, Church Point, Cameron-Grand Chenier, Wisner, Greensburg, the Ball Circuit and Glenmora. When he retired in 1963 he continued as Retired Supply at Merryville-Broadlands for six and a half more years.
James Knight was a much loved pastor and hard working preacher. In good times and bad he did not lose his sense of humor. Even in his last days of suffering, he did not complain but had a ready “Thank you” for every service given to him by doctor, minister, nurse or loved one.
Four daughters survive, as follows: Mrs. Carrie Elaine Silliman of Westlake, Louisiana; Mrs. Ola Marie McClendon of Temple, Texas; Mrs. Gyrthel Mae Whiddon of DeQuincy, Louisiana; Miss Linda Kay Knight of Dallas, Texas; and one son, James A. Knight, Jr., who lives at home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with Sunshine.
James’ memorial service was held in Simpson United Methodist Church in Lake Charles with Rev. Byrl Moreland, Rev. Edwin House and Rev. Glendon R. Messer officiating. There was a genuine feeling of celebration in this service for this devoted servant of our Lord. At the conclusion of our talk about his memoirs, Sunshine said, “Glen, he was just a good man who loved his Lord, his Church, his family and all the people he knew. He did the very best he could as a minister and a pastor. He lived his life to the fullest!”
What more could be said of any person? We shall miss him.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1977, p. 170 By Glendon R. Messer|