108-year-old preacher, McIntosh County Shouters set for church’s black history celebration

By BRAD GASKINS/Staff Writer

A 108-year-old evangelist will preach and the McIntosh County Shouters will perform Feb. 27 at Union Missionary Baptist in Columbiana as part of the church’s Black History Month celebration.

Bishop Otis Clark is currently 107 but celebrates another birthday Feb. 13.

“This is something that you probably never will experience again,” Union Pastor Eddie Stewart said. “A 108-year-old man preaching – you just don’t see that everyday.”

Clark, born in 1903, is the founder of Life Enrichment Ministries in Seattle, Wash.

Associate Pastor Star Williams will accompany her grandfather to the event. Williams was crowned Miss Oklahoma in 2003.

Stewart announced Clark’s participation in his church’s event Thursday and confirmed the booking of the McIntosh County Shouters late Friday afternoon.

The McIntosh County Shouters have preserved one of the oldest forms of African-American cultural and religious expression with a direct link to African roots.

In a statement posted of the group’s website, Robert H. Browning, executive and artistic director for the World Music Institute, called the McIntosh County Shouters a “national treasure.”

“I had the pleasure of recommending the group for a National Heritage Fellowship, America’s highest honor for the traditional arts, which they received in 1993,” Browning said. “Their performance in New York City over the past 21 years have held audiences spellbound and contributed to a great understanding of early African-American culture.”

The McIntosh County Shouters have been featured on numerous TV shows, including HBO’s “Unchained Memories.”

Union Missionary Baptist Pastor Stewart booked the group at a church he preached at in Atlanta.

“They came to my church there and you couldn’t even get a seat,” Stewart said.

With one of the world’s oldest evangelist and the McIntosh County Shouters booked for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, Stewart said he encourages everybody to join his 375-member congregation for the event.