The Monumental Baptist Church carried on with service with heavy hearts. Activist and community leader Reverend Billy Kyle’s was the church’s first pastor when it opened in 1959.
Kyles died last week after a long illness, and this morning, members of the church memorialized the chair where Kyles sat.
Local 24’s Rudy Williams was in today’s service. Rudy, it must have been very emotional.
Current Pastor, Wade Bryant told me after the service that today was a challenging day for him in the pulpit.
That’s because Reverend Billy Kyle’s groomed and hand picked him as his successor at Monumental.
We spoke with church family members with their own intimate connections to kyles…trying make it through.
The pulpit chair where Kyles sat during services until 2014 was draped in black cloth this morning.
Flowers placed on the seat in honor of not only a spiritual and thought leader.
Nearly 10 years after taking the reins of Monumental Baptist, Kyles would be instrumental in bringing Doctor Martin Luther King to Memphis, only to meet his fate on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968.
While there was joyful noise during services here today, reflections of Kyles rang out loudest.
“He’s one of God’s saints. You know he’s just going home. God called him home,” James Martin said.
“Yeah, we grew up together. I was at his first sermon. I was the best man at his wedding,” said Klyes’ childhood friend, Rev. Glenn Strickland.
“I let him have the money that I got out of service to put down on his first home and all of that, so we been together friends.”
Source: Local Memphis | Rudy Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org