Oct. 15, 1847-Oct. 4, 1929
|Rev. Berry T. Crews, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Crews, was born In South CarolIna, Oct. 15, 1847. Eighty-one years, eleven months and eleven days marked his earthly pilgrimage. He reached the end of his earthly journey in Shreveport, La., Oct. 4, 1929. The farewell service was held at the First Methodist Church.
In 1866 he was married to Miss Mlnerva Caroline Keltt, who shared wIth him the trials and triumphs of the itinerant life. This union was blessed with a fine family. The surviving children are Lovick A. Crews, Dallas, Texas; Mrs. Edward Waist, Lexington, Kentucky; Mrs. F. M. Lacy, Carthage, Texas; Mrs. C. D. Baker, San Augustine, Texas, and Miss Cora Crews, Carthage, Texas. Mrs. Crews lived to see all her children grown. Had she lived three years longer her golden wedding could have been celebrated. This joy she was denied. She passed to her eternal reward on March 4, 1913.
On July 13, 1915, Brother Crews was married to Miss Jennie Watson of Athens, La. During the closing years of his life she was a great comfort to him, a helpmeet Indeed, always watching over him and ministering to his every need. It was her loving presence that smoothed the way for his faltering feet and cheered his fainting heart She survives him. Her home is at 2612 Edgar Street, Shreveport, La.
In 1878 Brother Crews with his small family, having moved from South Carolina, was living in Sparta, Georgia. Here, while a thousand beckoning calls from every field of human endeavor were sounding in his ears, he responded to the call of the ministry and gave himself without reservation to the itinerancy of the Methodist Church and was given work as a supply in the North Georgia Conference. It was a very pleasant memory to him, and he often mentioned the fact that Bishop Candler was once his pastor. He never said it, but one hearing him relate this experience somehow got the impression that the young pastor’s ministry had left on this strong man an influence that guided his steps through the years.
Bishop McTyeire was to preside over the Arkansas Conference in 1878. A call was made for young preachers to come to this needy field. Under the advice of Bishop George F. Pierce, Brother Crews moved from Georgia to Arkansas and on Oct. 25, 1878, with thirteen others, was received on trial into the Arkansas Conference, and he was appointed to the Greenwood Charge in the Fort Smith District. He remained in the Arkansas Conference for fourteen years, serving effectively in all the churches to which he was appointed. He was ordained deacon in 1880 and elder in 1882.
In December, 1893, he was transferred by Bishop Key to Louisiana and for twenty-eight years he received appointments for active service in our Conference. He served the following charges in the order named, beginning in December, 1893; Mansfield, three years; Arcadia District, four years; Minden, three years; Opelousas, two years; Many, one year; DeRidder, two years; Fullerton, one year; Bossier and Queensboro, one year; Jennings, one year; Rayne, one year; Ida, two years; Pleasant Hill, one year; Vivian, three years, and Greenwood. three years. At the Conference held in Shreveport, Nov. 22, 1922, he was granted the superannuate relation. Thus ended in the full traveling connection of our Methodist itinerancy forty years of the active and effective service of one of the greatest souls I have ever known. It could be truly said of him, as was said of a disciple of old, he was a “beloved brother, a faithful minister and a fellow servant in the Lord.”
The foregoing is but a mere sketch of this wonderful life. The limited space for memoirs in our Conference journal makes brevity a necessity, but even this sketch would fail in its purpose if it closed with the superannuation of Brother Crews. multitudes knew him and felt the power of his godly life and effective ministry for nearly fifty years. This much of his life is known by the many, batter than anyone could tell it. While he passed from the larger fields of service, he did not go into obscurity when he was superannuated. He was not a forgotten man. In the smaller circle, bounded by his strength and opportunities, his life was full and radiant.
During the seven years of his retirement hungry-hearted people found the way to his d9or and were comforted. There was not a cloud in the sky. Even the far horizons were flooded with the light of buoyant faith. He loved the Methodist Church and rejoiced that he had been permitted to suffer in her ministry. He felt that he had always received better than he deserved. He had no grievance against anybody. He learned the secret of perfect peace. He loved the preachers and lie trusted them implicitly. He often said, when addressing them, “I am ready to go, the Church is safe in your hands.”
My brethren in the ministry, are we worthy of such a trust as this? I know he was ready and waiting to go. It was not sunset to him, but sunrise, when he went away from us on that October day. Instead of mourning, let us look up and say to him:
“Thy day has come, not gone;
|Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 116-118, 1929|