When I talked to the new Methodist pastor, Larry Maugh, I told him I was sending him some questions by email and would he please answer them and return them to me so I could write a story about him for the Tunica Times. He sent back a bio he did for the Methodist church.
Hello to everyone in Tunica. I am Larry Maugh, the newly appointed pastor of the United Methodist Church. Celeste and I are moved into the parsonage though not settled in. Celeste assures me we will be settled by Christmas.
Thank you one and all; you have made us feel welcome. Daily someone comes by to deliver our evening meal. As each meal arrives we look at one another and delight in our blessing, hoping it never ends. The painters continue to work on the parsonage, (and) the carpenters have installed the new window in the breezeway, Bob Gann continues to work tirelessly as your Trustee Chairperson. I am amazed at all the activity. Since our arrival there has been someone to help us. We were met by Bob Gann, Heath Cariker, and the Bibbs: Richy, Jon Koehler, and Owen. The Cobbs sent Robert over to help. It was a dream to have such strong young men to unload our belongings.
I am sixty years old. I was born and reared in Leland, Mississippi. I served in the United States Army stationed in Vietnam for 14 months. After an honorable discharge I returned to the University of Southern Mississippi, graduating in 1975. I taught in the field of Industrial Vocation Education (shop) for four years before entering the construction field. I owned my own business in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Celeste was my partner in business as she is in my ministry today. She will be teaching fifth grade math and science at Dundee Elementary.
We closed the business in 1998, moving to North Georgia, where I served as a Student Pastor while attending seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I returned to the Mississippi Conference in 2001, serving as a Probationary Elder until ordination in 2004. I have served churches in Picayune, Vancleave, Aberdeen, and now Tunica.
Celeste and I delight in our blended family of six children. Our youngest child is 25 and our oldest child is 32. Most of them live in the Ocean Springs area, one in Hattiesburg, and one in Portland, Oregon. We have three grandchildren ages 7, 6, and three. Our son Nathan is deployed with the military serving in Iraq for one year.
There are many other details to my life I hope to share them with you in our future together. We look forward to meeting all of you, and thank you for your warm reception.
I think Pastor Maugh would rather share his innermost thoughts and stories on a more private basis, which I greatly admire. But it made me want to know more.
So one day last week, I called my friends Tait and Trudy Selden to check on them since Trudy just recently lost her father and Tait just had hip replacement surgery, and in the course of talking to Trudy, she told me a totally unexpected story. Our conversation gravitated to losing our fathers. In the course of this conversation, she told me that the new Methodist pastor had called to check on her father, but with her father’s confusion, it was impossible to bring someone new in to introduce him. When her father passed away, news traveled fast, as it tends to do when Tunica loses one of its own.
Trudy in tears told me, “Lil, I walked out of that room with Daddy and there was a man standing in my home that I had never laid eyes on. He had on a tee shirt and jeans and I think tennis shoes. He never said a word. He just opened his arms and I just walked into his warm embrace and I instinctively knew this was Pastor Maugh.”
This touched me so much that even though I’ve never met him, I know he is going to be a great new addition to Tunica.
Lil Battle Long is a native of Tunica who now lives in Rosedale with her husband Earl. Her newly titled story series, “LONG Distance Information,” will appear on a regular basis in The Times.