“In this Fellowship, we will die and be buried.”

Many of you who read here will be familiar with Brother and Sister J. T. Pugh and will understand my extensive interest in their deaths…and in their lives. For you who have not had the privilege of knowing them–either closely or from a distance–I want to say that Rev. Pugh, for many years, has been an integral part of the United Pentecostal Church, and both he and his wife are widely admired and respected. He was a gentle, but powerful minister of the Gospel. From the Apostolic News I bring here a brief autobiography written a few years ago by Brother Pugh.

On August 20, 1944, I was married to a beautiful, dedicated, young lady. Bessie Beryl Halbrooks has been the greatest event of my life, besides Jesus Christ. She was the first and only girl I ever dated. She bore three wonderful children; “Datha Dees, Terry and Nathanael Pugh. We have been married for sixty years and I love her more now than I ever have. She has been so very faithful and supportive.
While we were still in college and she taught school, we pastored briefly in Hillsboro, Texas. During our short pastorate, the attendance tripled. We grew from an attendance of five to a robust fifteen in number. Perhaps we over did it and were getting too large. One Sunday night after church, the main leader of the church told me that they no longer wanted me as pastor. So we walked away with a heavy heart.
After graduating from Bible School, my wife and I traveled as evangelist for a short time. We did not own a car and knew that there was little likelihood that we would ever own one. I did not have the money to buy her bus ticket to our first revival after we married. I left her at the bus station in tears.
We were called to pastor in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1945. World War II had just come to a close. The military base closed and the city went into a slump. The church shrunk in size. We had the privilege of preaching in Life Tabernacle, in Wichita Falls in the year of 2000. Pastor Wendell Elms was so kind. Over 400 people worshipped in a large beautiful building on a splendid location. My heart swelled with gratitude.
The next day my wife and I drove by the corner on “Kemp and Jay” where the little dwelling house had been converted into a place of worship. We recalled on Sunday night, we would count the money the people had handed us that weekend. If it was more than $2.50 we would walk to a drug store and drink a lime aid. We only bought one drink but asked for two straws. There were quiet a few Sunday nights we did not get a lime aid. Our offering had been less than $2.50.
From 1946 to 1948, we evangelized. During this time we purchased a car.
We went to West Lake, Louisiana to reopen a work that had been closed. There our first child, “Datha Jo” was born. We only stayed in West Lake 1-1/2 years, but God greatly blessed. We were able to leave eighty wonderful saints behind, a finished parsonage and a self supporting work. To God be the glory for the large church there now so well pastored by Mark R. Stanton.
In 1949, at age twenty-seven, Bessie and I moved to Port Arthur, Texas to pastor “The First Pentecostal Church.” We lived and ministered there for seventeen years. The Lord raised up a strong congregation, a new parsonage and a new church building.
In January of 1967, the General Board of the United Pentecostal Church appointed me, to fill the unexpired term of Haskell Yadon, as “General Home Missions Director.” After filling that office for six years, we withdrew from it feeling this to be the will of God. We thank God for the wonder, the growth, and vision that God brought to the United Pentecostal Church. I am grateful for the faithful work of great men who served in the Home Missions Department in those days. I appreciate the privilege of working with S.W. Chamber, my General Superintendent.
Bessie and I felt it God’s will to come to Odessa, Texas in 1974 to pastor “The First United Pentecostal Church.” For nineteen years, we enjoyed revival and growth. During our pastorate, God gave us a new building with a 1,000 seat auditorium. Also, I had the privilege for eight years of serving the Texico District as their District Superintendent.
At this time both Bessie and I are eighty years old. We love the United Pentecostal Church. We witnessed its beginning and hopefully contributed in a small way to its growth. It has been our home since its beginning. In this fellowship we will die and be buried.
And now as a culmination to a beautiful love story, together they lie in state in the United Pentecostal Church in Odessa, Texas…well, their bodies lie there…but their spirits are dancing away in that eternal blissful city…directly now in the presence of God.

Photo Credit: Arthur Hodges

3 thoughts on ““In this Fellowship, we will die and be buried.”

  1. Sis. Buxton, thank you for “re-posting” this article. I never had read it before now, and Wendell and I feel so honored that Bro. Pugh wrote about the wonderful church we pastored in Wichita Falls. The day Bro. and Sis. Pugh came to preach for us was a day never to be forgotten by us and our congregation. During the time they were in Wichita Falls, they planted seed that came up and is still growing today! Bro. and Sis. Pugh are forever in our hearts and lives. Thank you again for sharing this article.


  2. Wm. B. Howell

    I never got to meet either Bro. or Sis. Pugh, but I will say this hearing of their passing made me cry tears of sorrow and of joy. A beautiful story of a man who unknowingly impacted my life. At 16yrs old I left a UPC church and joined an ALJC work as a youth pastor. Upon starting my Pastor pulled me aside one night and place an old ragged copy of “For Preachers Only” in my hands and said I was to “memorize it verbatim” and that it was that “it’s the one book, other then the Bible, that’ll see you through the years ahead.” Thank you Bro. Pugh.


  3. Pingback: Beautiful Obituary of Bessie Beryl Pugh « Shirley Buxton

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