Published May 17, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Preserving The Heritage"

Something a little different this week...

On last weekend's broadcast you heard about the Southern Gospel Music Association's work to preserve Southern Gospel music's rich heritage at their Hall of Fame & Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Today, in this space, I'd like to share why I think your support of the SGMA is so important.

You and I have something in common. You have "connected" with us because you love good Southern Gospel music. Obviously, so do I. Perhaps you grew up on it. Perhaps you discovered it later in life. Whichever is the case, this music is definitely special — as music, yes, but also, most importantly, in its encouraging and uplifting Gospel message. That's why I always say Southern Gospel music incorporates "the greatest songs about the greatest message, the Gospel."

But if you are truly sensitive to Southern Gospel music's merit, you – as do I – want to see it continue — growing, expanding and touching more lives with the Gospel. That's why I am urging you to help support the Southern Gospel Music Association.

The SGMA, established in 1994, is best known for its Hall of Fame and Museum, located at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This museum archives and displays thousands of significant and fascinating artifacts from a century of Southern Gospel music, telling the amazing story of this great musical style and how it has thrived and impacted millions over the years. What a rich history it has!

The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame, a centerpiece in the museum, honors individuals who each contributed their life's work to spread the Gospel effectively through Southern Gospel music. The names and plaques displayed there bring back so many memories — fond memories of these personalities and their work — individuals such as James Blackwood, J.D. Sumner, Glen Payne, Brock Speer, George Younce and so many more.

Already, the SGMA has been instrumental in introducing countless new fans – both old and young – to Southern Gospel music. And that's an important part of the SGMA's mission for the years ahead, too. In fact, the museum is prominently located just inside the main gates at Dollywood, welcoming more than a million visitors each year, many of whom had been unfamiliar with this music. (Once inside the theme park, admission to the Museum is free.)

Your personal support of the SGMA, for as little as $20 a year, helps keep this non-profit museum operating – telling the story of Southern Gospel music as no one else does, or even could. Please consider partnering with the SGMA to maintain the programs that have begun there – and to build upon them for the future.

Partnering with the SGMA is easy. Individual partnerships are just $20 a year. Here's how to do it:

If you would rather simply make a direct contribution of any amount to the SGMA, that, too, is an option. Just go to and, down in the lower right corner of the screen, click on "Donate." You will be prompted for the information needed. Note that contributions are tax-deductible.

You can also contribute through the SGMA's new text giving number. On your smart phone, dial 865-264-2258. You then simply enter the amount of your contribution ($20 one year, $40 two years, or a larger contribution, etc.). First-time users will be prompted to visit a secure URL to enter credit or debit card information.

By the way, in return for your partnership, you will have an opportunity to vote for future inductees into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. From time to time, other benefits are made available, as well.

In any case, please get involved today. Shelia and I are long-time partners. Your partnership will help to preserve the legacy and history of Southern Gospel music to inspire generations to come, thereby helping to spread the Gospel through this music we all love so much.

- Paul

Your Turn:  Perhaps you'd like to share in a few words what Southern Gospel music has meant to you. Just let me know.

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