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Vann, Willie Jeancomment (0)

March 29, 2012

By Julie Payne


Vann, Willie Jean

McElwain Baptist Church, Birmingham
Birmingham Baptist Association

Favorite Verse: John 3:16

Favorite Hymns: “How Great Thou Art” and “The Old Rugged Cross”

Hobbies: ainting and creating art using seashells 

Family Status: idowed after 62 years of marriage to Braxton; three children, Rose Ann, Carol Jean and Jerry; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren Willie Jean Vann celebrated her 91st birthday March 14. As part of McElwain Baptist Church’s Loving Touch ministry, Vann creates artistic gifts for shut-ins. She also taught Sunday School for many years at various churches and sang in the choir. In 1973, Vann published a book about her father, Alabama pastor and church planter W.H. Falkner — “The Kindliest Man I Ever Met.”

Q: How did you come to know the Lord?

A: I was 7 years old and … the preacher at this church was preaching the plan of salvation. He gave an altar call, and I felt Jesus tugging at my heart, so I just decided to go. He let my daddy baptize me.

Q: How did you get involved in teaching at church?

A: They just needed a teacher and I was available. I loved to get to teach. I taught intermediates and juniors. I (also) taught adults at different churches. My Sunday School teacher at McElwain  — this was about 10 (or so) years ago — if he had to go somewhere, I would fill in and help teach.

Q: Could you share more about your parents and some of the churches your father started? 

A: My mother loved missions. Father was a minister in different places. He got his high school diploma and went four years [at] Howard College (now Samford University) and got his degree from there (and) never went to seminary. He was a church planter [for] East Side Baptist Church in Cullman. (He also) started three (churches) in Selma: Water Avenue Baptist Church, Northside Baptist Church and West End Baptist Church. He helped start [Oak Grove Baptist Church], too — that was the first church he started. 

Q: What difference has Jesus Christ made in your life?

A: All the difference in the world. He becomes dearer and dearer, and He’s answered so many of my prayers.

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