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Afton Richards


I made my first appearance on this earth in the West Texas prairie country, near Rule, in Haskell County, about 57 years ago. All of my life I have lived in this general area of West Texas. At the age of nine days, my mother carried me to Ephesus Church in Rule, Texas, where my grandfather Elder W.H. Richards was the pastor. I have been attending services at this church from time to time all of my life. In my memory I can recall being interested in the Lord and the Church as far back as the age of five. I united with the Primitive Baptists at the West Texas Association at Tahoka, Texas, in August of 1932. I was ordained as a deacon by the Rule Church in 1947. I served to the best of my ability in that capacity until December of 1962 when I was ordained to the full work of the ministry by Little Flock Church at Munday, Texas. At the time I was ordained, I was trying to speak in the name of our Lord every Sunday. Shortly thereafter, held services on an average of four times each month for several years, in addition to two 30 minute radio programs each Sunday. This has kept me pretty busy. Many, many times I have gone home Sunday night, completely empty and tired, with a sincere prayer in my heart, "Lord, you will have to give me something to tell our people next week, I am empty, and void."

I feel that I have a great heritage in the church. One of my grandfathers was a deacon and great scholar. My father, Elder H.G. Richards was a great presenter and defender of the doctrine of the Bible and the church.

I married into a Primitive Baptist family of 13 children. Grandfather Bass was a deacon, and extremely well posted the scriptures. All the children were members of the church. Many of the sons and grandsons are now ordained ministers and deacons in the church. My wife, Mary, was the youngest of the 13 children. She was a good wife and mother, and a great help to me. Perhaps the greatest burden of my life, about four years ago, she was in very poor health, and was in great pain. Several doctors examined her with no good diagnosis. I recall one Sunday morning at the Muleshoe Church I used for a sermon topic the question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Two days later I took my wife to another doctor. After a short examination he called me aside, and with a solemn expression he said to me: "I am very sorry, your wife is almost dead with inoperable cancer."

Four days later she suffered a stroke, with a block in the artery to the lungs. You can imagine my grief and the feeling I had, and the grief or problem of discussing this with her. But she had a strong faith and trust in the Lord. I had to remember my text, and what it meant. In less than a month she was gone from us.

By Providence, we feel the Lord worked in our behalf. And how peculiar it came about. Brother Ed Crawford of the Cisco Church, where I tried to serve as pastor, had surgery, diagnosed as terminal cancer. His daughter, Sister Opal Sanders of Corpus Christi, was attending his bedside, when I was visiting him. Although her grandfather was a deacon in the church where, my grandfather was pastor about 50 years ago, and I had been her father's pastor for several years, we had not known each other until this time. We felt the Lord had thrown our lives together in this strange manner. We were married December 12, 1969.
Our family started the Banner of Love, a Primitive Baptist publication in December of 1932. At that time most of the church papers, used much of their space in discussing personal differences, and church troubles. My father felt the great need of the Baptists having a paper of scriptural discussions, and of good news, without the trouble. This was the reason for the birth of the Banner of Love. Two years later, at the age of 20, I became editor and publisher of the Banner of Love, which capacity I have tried to occupy since that time.

I have tried to preach the gospel in the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and my native state of Texas.

FROM DAVID MONTGOMERY: Elder Richards passed from this life on June 21, 1984. He was editor of The Banner of Love for over 50 years. He authored several other publications including Why I Am A Primitive Baptist and Bible Stories. His positive influence on God's people in the State of Texas as well as across the country is felt to this day. He had a wonderful memory and his mind was quick to recall so many wonderful and unusual incidents from past days. I remember one afternoon at Corpus Christi, Texas, when between services, he kept several of us entertained for hours by telling stories from the “good old days.”

larry heldman  

Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)
Elder James Compton was the original founder of the 'Gospel of Grace Tape Supply.' His collection of tapes began as he traveled to Church meetings and Associations recording sermons on Reel to Reel. He has maintained this library of sermons faithfully over the years and are now the foundation of PB Sermons. org. This web site is dedicated to Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)