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The White’s Ferry Road School of Preaching in West Monroe, La. — featured in a special Inside Story column — opened in 1970 and graduated 875 ministers during its 22 years of operation.
The original instructors were Lynn Campbell, Dub DeLoach, Leonard Gray, Bill Johnson, Bill Smith, J.J. Turner and Jim Young. Carl Allison served as the director.
At the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding, Deanne Middlebrook, Britt Farmer, Lori Allison Easterly and Alan Robertson offer reflections:
Member of the Groesbeck Church of Christ in Texas
Tommy Middlebrook, her late husband of nearly 55 years, attended the White’s Ferry Road Preaching School from 1974 to 1976.
Before his death at age 75 in 2017, he preached for four Texas churches and served as an elder for another.
“We loved being there and learned so much,” she said of the couple’s time at White’s Ferry Road. “We both had a master’s in education degree from college, but when we were there was the most intensive study he ever had.
“The students who were there when we were there received a total immersion study of the Bible. I know that knowledge gained there remained with Tommy the rest of his life. The ladies’ classes on Monday night were exceptional, and I loved all the ladies who taught them.”
Minister for the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas
Farmer, a 1987 graduate, spoke at the 50th anniversary reunion about his church’s experience with a deadly shooting that claimed the lives of two members.
He welcomed the opportunity to reconnect with former classmates.
“I walked into a room of men and women that I had not seen in years, and it felt like I was at home,” Farmer said. “It was like we had never been apart.”
Asked what he remembers most about his studies at White’s Ferry Road, he replied: “The workload.”
“The instructors were diverse and yet accepted each other’s differences when it came to matters of opinion,” he said. “I never felt forced to follow a specific line of theology or doctrine outside of the written word of God.”
Ministry assistant for the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ
“My dad, Carl Allison, was the school director,” Easterly said. “My mom, Barbara Allison, taught several of the wives’ classes, so the school was a big part of my growing up.
”For the last 19 years, I have been blessed to work at White’s Ferry Road. I was especially blessed to work with my dad and Bill Smith at the church before they went home to the Lord. I am so thankful for my mom and dad’s legacy of faith and that the school brought us to West Monroe, La.
“During those 20-plus years of the school, 900 students took what they learned and shared with people throughout the United States and the world, making an eternal impact that only God can measure.”
Minister and elder of the White’s Ferry Road church
Robertson attended the preaching school from 1988 to 1990, then interned at White’s Ferry Road for two years before embarking on full-time ministry there.
“I was eager to learn, and I grew more spiritually than I had ever done up until that point,” he said of his time at the school. “The school provided me with the tools to … lead, teach and preach at my home congregation for most of my adult life. I became an elder before I left full-time work in 2012 to appear on a TV show.
“My biblical training still helps me by giving me a strong foundation as I speak around the country. I returned to the WFR pulpit, as an unpaid volunteer, this year with Mike Kellett. Mike and I are humbled that we might be the first and last WFR graduates to preach there.”
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