Carl Barnes: ‘He preached it in the pulpit and lived it in life’

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 12, 2008

The Rev. Carl S. Barnes Sr., a pastor who is remembered as being an “outstanding man of God” and “a good friend,” died Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland. He was 82.

“He touched a lot of lives,” said his son, Mark Barnes of El Dorado, Ark., Thursday. “I wish I knew how many people he’s baptized and won for the Lord. He saw a bunch of them last night when he went home to be with the Lord.”

“He preached it in the pulpit and lived it in life,” said his daughter, Sherry Mahaffey of Mendenhall, who added he used to introduce her as his “favorite daughter,” leaving her to explain she was his only daughter.

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Rev. Barnes grew up in Newellton and graduated from Mississippi College.

His family estimates he was in the ministry nearly 61 years, beginning in Mound and continuing on to Bassville, Columbia and Monroe in Louisiana and Escatawpa, Lumberton and Vicksburg in Mississippi. Here, he pastored Woodlawn Baptist Church and Bovina Baptist Church, the church from which he officially retired.

Rev. Barnes, however, continued his ministry, serving as interim minister to several churches throughout rural Mississippi, ending with Deer Creek Baptist in Rolling Fork where he served as “interim pastor” for 10 years.

“They called it interim but the truth was it was a small church they just never wanted him to leave,” said Mark Barnes.

Rev. Barnes preached his last sermon at Deer Creek Baptist on August 31, 2008.

“In all his years in the ministry the Lord always came first,” said Mark Barnes. “Every time. I can promise you that.”

In addition to preaching, Rev. Barnes had a fondness for woodworking and spent a great deal of his time making items to sell or take to craft shows. He was a substitute teacher for Vicksburg Warren School District’s vocational courses.

“His passion, other than the Lord, was making swings, rockers and gliders,” said his son, Steve Barnes of Vicksburg.

“He loved to go to craft shows because he could sell his stuff and tell others about the Lord while he was doing it,” added Mark Barnes.

“He was a wonderful long-time customer of mine and he was just a prince of a guy,” said Brother Blackburn of Blackburn Motors. “He wasn’t my pastor — I got to know him through my business. He lived out his faith and witnessed it to us whenever he came up here. He was just a great guy.”

His physician agreed. “He was always willing to help and he cared more about others than about himself,” said Dr. Randy Easterling, who saw Rev. Barnes as a patient. “You could just see that about him.”

Red Dowdy, a member of Rev. Barnes’ Bovina Baptist congregation  and his former next-door-neighbor said he was an excellent friend.

“There are friends and then there are friends you’ll never forget…” said Dowdy. “He was a good preacher, but a better pastor. And he was tough as nails, too, a good businessman. When he got to Bovina Baptist it was just a little concrete block and he played a huge part in turning it into what it is today.”

Rev. Barnes was known for making family important and played a vital part in the lives of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He dedicated to the church as babies and later performed the marriage ceremony for the majority of his grandchildren and dedicated all of his great-grandchildren to the church.

Amanda Shoup, a granddaughter, remembers her “Papa” and thinks, “how blessed I am. He dedicated me and my son. He married me, and my parents and my brother. He spoke at my baccalaureate. He was there when I was saved. Every major moment he was there.”

Her brother, Matt, said their grandfather was engaged in their lives.

“I just think back and realize how much he was a part of,” he said.

Rev. Barnes’ favorite Bible verse was Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know;” he had it printed on the bottom of his business cards and his friends and family say it was evident he lived what he believed.

“My mom said yesterday, ‘if there ever was a perfect man other than Jesus it was Carl Barnes,” said Mark Barnes. “When he was leaving us God just put a peace on us. We all know where he went.”

Rev. Barnes is survived by his wife, Ellene E. Barnes of Vicksburg, his two sons and daughter; two brothers, Melvin Barnes of Texarkana, Texas, and Johnny Barnes of Benton, La.; his sister, Mary Harris of Sulphur Springs, Texas; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Woodlawn Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Green Acres Memorial Park.

Visitation will be at Glenwood Funeral Home from 5 until 7 tonight.