Giessen, Charles H.


Charles Henry Giessen was born in Cleveland, Ohio, August 29, 1906, the son of Charles Henry Giessen, a civil engineer in the city of Cleveland, and his wife, Allie Gertrude Tyler Giessen, formerly of England, Arkansas. Charles earned his way through Hendrix College as a waiter and dishwasher in the college dinning room, as pastor of the Douglasville-Geyer Springs charge near Little Rock. Following his graduation from Hendrix in 1930 with the B.A. degree, he attended Duke Divinity School and received the Master of Sacred Theology degree.
He served in various connectional capacities in the Little Rock and Louisiana Confer-ences, including Conference Registrar, District Missionary Secretary, District Director of Youth Work and Director of Youth Assemblies. Perhaps nowhere was his effectiveness more manifest than in his work with youth. At least five ministers testify to his influence in hearing the call to preach. Rev. Barry Bailey, one of the five, now an outstanding Louisiana Conference minister, wrote “entering the ministry had never crossed my mind until you set me to thinking.”
Bishop Aubrey G. Walton says: “Charles and I were schoolmates in Hendrix and later at Duke Divinity School. We served for a number of years in the Little Rock Conference. For eight years of that time I was chairman of the (then) Board of Ministerial Training, and Charles was registrar. We had a close relationship during those years, and I learned to respect and appreciate the ability of Charles for accurate, careful and dedicated service…He transferred to the Louisiana Conference several years before I became Bishop and found him in this conference when I came to Louisiana. During the past twelve years I have appreciated fellowship and service with him. I counted him as a devoted Christian, an able minister, and a dear friend.”
Another close friend, Dr. Harry Denman, says, “Many years ago, when Charles was pastor of the Methodist Church in Camden, Arkansas, I was associated with him in evangelistic work. And I noted with joy his concern about all persons, young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. He poured out his love to individuals…And he was a true father and a loving husband, a devoted citizen, a devout churchman, and a warm hearted Christian.”
Dr. H. G. Williamson, Lake Charles District Superintendent, brought the funeral message at services conducted at Noel Memorial United Methodist Church in Shreveport. Internment was in Monticello, Arkansas*. Rev. Lester A. Nance held a memorial service in First United Methodist Church of Gueydan. And the respect in which Charles Giessen was held as a minister across denominational line is demonstrated by the community memorial service conducted in the Roman Catholic Church of Gueydan by its priest, Father John Engbers, and in which our own Rev. Calvin Lapuyade, participated as the first Protestant minister ever to speak in the sanctuary of the Roman Catholic Church in this south Louisiana community.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1972; p. 137 By Virgil D. Morris

* The printed Journal gives his internment as Magnolia, Arkansas. His daughter Helen has informed us that it should read Monticello, Arkansas

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