PERRY -- Members of Kings Chapel Memorial CME Church believe they have a future as rich as their long history.
The Rev. William C. Pounds III became the church’s new pastor in July. He said he considers himself a “visionary person” who is eager to be part of the church’s bright future.
“Kings Chapel’s history began around 1830 when John Rudolph King, a cotton planter and Methodist, moved here from Orangeburg, South Carolina,” Pounds said. “The King family owned about 1,700 acres and Jim Wiggins, a King slave, preached in an open-air arbor right near where the church is now. In 1856, skilled artisans and slaves built a structure and in 1977, the current building was built right here next to it.”
Pounds said in 1865, after Emancipation, the Kings deeded the church and land to a church board of trustees. He said during Reconstruction, the church also served as a school. Pounds said from its beginning as part of the King farm, Christians in the church enjoyed cooperation as well as services that included blacks and whites.
“A reflection of that is when the congregation moved from the old building to the new in ’77,” he said. “The congregation marched from the old building to the new along with members of the King family on that day. It was sons and daughters of former slaves and slave owners marching together in unity. Unity is important for a community.”
Following in the footsteps of Wiggins, Pounds is the church’s 28th pastor.
“My first service was a homecoming service,” Pounds said. “There were people who came back from New England and Miami. I could see the connection to family and community from the start. There are blessings with that.”
Pounds said he’s initiating an emphasis on young people and their involvement at the church.
“It’s beautiful to look at our history, but our future rests with young people carrying on the vision,” he said. “We’re encompassing the energy and excitement of young people and giving them opportunities. They take over services on second Sundays and do everything. If they want to bring in a special speaker, have one of them speak or have me speak, they do.”
Pounds’ vision includes making the church a compassionate community where food, school supplies and clothing are available to those in need. He anticipates growing a media ministry so services can reach elderly members who can’t attend as well others around the world.
Pounds said he believes in transparency in leadership, in being inclusive and in seeing others smile.
“I do, I like to see people smile,” he said. “We’re serious about doing God’s work but his love and goodness puts a smile on people’s faces. With God, there’s always something to smile about. I want to convey the steadfastness of God and steadfastness we’re to have. Whether black or white -- or Gentile or Jew, so to say -- I want to introduce the faith, hope and love we’re called to. Especially the love.”
Pounds said above all his goal is to introduce others to Jesus Christ through the Gospel so they may enjoy the joy and salvation he himself has found. He said throughout his service as pastor to several churches, he has relied on the help and leadership of Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, presiding prelate, Sixth Episcopal District, Georgia and Haiti, CME Church, and presiding elder the Rev. Jane Thomas.
“The thing I love about the Methodist church is it’s a structured church,” he said. “There is room to move forward and think outside the box, but the foundation is there and you don’t have to make things up as you go.”
Pounds is a bi-vocational pastor. A native of Macon and father of six, he is an Air National Guard senior master sergeant serving at Robins Air Force Base with J-STARS.
“I went into the Air Force right out of high school, Central High School,” he said. “I’ve served pretty much all over the nation and globe in my 28 years. I’m now superintendent of the Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear program,” he said. “I have a lot of enthusiasm for all I do. I’m not the sort that can sit still for long.”
Pounds said he also takes pride in the fact he’s the longest serving chaplain in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, where he served for seven years in the Lambda Phi chapter.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.