Funeral director helps pastor Piedmont church
Chuck Cummings recalls what he did on Career Day at Jacksonville High School back in 1977.

He spent that day working at the local funeral home.

“At that time, I thought I might get into funeral service,” he said. “We actually had a burial there that very day. Several times during the years since then, I’ve visited the grave of the man we buried.”

Chuck did eventually go into funeral service, but it was many years later.

Since 2008, he’s been an apprentice and is now a licensed funeral director at K. L. Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Center.

After graduating from JHS, he attended Jacksonville State University for a year. Then, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Navy. By the time he had ended his eighth year in service and, after having given it a lot of thought, he came to the decision that his rightful place was in the pulpit. He had his heart set on the ministry.

Immediately upon release from the Navy, he attended Tabernacle Baptist Bible College in Greenville, SC, a place of learning where he “was able to sit under some good men that were able to give me the guidance in the scripture and from there let the Lord speak to my heart.”

It was a decision he’s never regretted.

For the past two years he has served as associate pastor at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Piedmont. On Sunday, Trinity’s members honored Chuck and his wife Cathy with a luncheon to celebrate their anniversary at the church and at the same time show their appreciation to the couple for their dedication to the church.

He’s been in the ministry now for 25 years. Six of those years were spent as pastor at the church he attended when he was growing up, Profile Baptist in the mill village.

Chuck feels that his decision to enter the ministry fulfilled God’s calling in his life

“I felt the call shortly after I was saved in 1983,” he said, “but I didn’t surrender to it until years later.”

Chuck said his job at the funeral home allows him to continue his ministry.

During his early years as a pastor, he also worked at Wellborn Cabinet, Inc in Ashland.

“The economy turned south, we had a series of layoffs, and I got caught up in one of the later layoffs,” he said. “With me being a pastor, I had worked with Koven (owner of K. L Brown Funeral Home) over the years. He had a position open and he offered me that position.”

Chuck and Cathy have three sons. His parents are Earnest and Cheryl Cummings. His brother, Russell, is a retired firefighter and lives in Cave Spring, Ga. with his wife Jeannie. Russell has two sons, Kyle and Michael.

Chuck likes to fish and hunt, but he rarely gets a chance to.

“I went rabbit hunting the other day,” he said. “I was really excited about that. Our lives for the past 25 years have been centered around our church and things going on there.”

Chuck said when their sons were younger he and Cathy “tried to raise them based on Biblical principals, and we tried to make sure they knew the importance of a relationship with Christ and the church. I can honestly say we never had a problem getting them to go to church. It was just the expected thing to do. It’s always been the focal point of our family -- going to church and keeping that relationship with Christ.”

Growing up in Jacksonville, Chuck has been able to enjoy fun times with many of his friends and classmates. There have, however, been sad times as well.

“I’ve buried both of the parents of some of my friends and even some of my schoolmates. I’ve had the privilege of helping these families during the rough times,” he said. “My heart’s in the ministry, so that part of it makes it very satisfying.”

When he left his hometown to join the Navy, he thought he’d never be back.

He said now, though, he’s glad he came home. After those eight years in the Navy and the time spent in college, the idea of practicing his ministry closer to his home became stronger and stronger to him.

“I’ve had that conversation with many folks that I’ve run into over the years,” he said. “I know folks that have left and never came back, and I know folks that have never left. I’m glad I got to come back to minister and help take care of people here where I grew up.”
© 2013