Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 23, 2015


God, send us more Chris Singletons!


       One of my dearest friends is Dr. Billy Doyle Gaither, like me a retired United Methodist preacher. Billy and his wife Carolyn live on White Oak Bend in Ozark, Alabama.

        Billy and I have been friends since we met during high school days. We are both Elmore County boys. Billy grew up in Tallassee while Wetumpka was home for me. We met on the basketball court when our schools played. Unlike me, Billy was a gifted athlete.

        We were both Methodists and got acquainted at sub-district meetings of MYF, the Methodist Youth Fellowship. We both became Methodist preachers and our friendship deepened as the years passed. Both of us have enjoyed writing for the local newspapers wherever we lived.

        Billy writes a regular column called “Pathways” for The Southern Star, a good weekly newspaper in Ozark. I enjoy Billy’s perspective. He is a good wordsmith and I offer the following composition by Billy (published recently in The Star) as convincing proof of my opinion:

        Chris Singleton – remember that name.

        Early this summer a horrific event occurred in Charleston, South Carolina. Men and women had gathered in a church (Emanuel AME) for Bible study and prayer. A visitor came. He was greeted and welcomed. Then an unexpected eruption exploded. The visitor in an outrage of apparent racism terrorized the peaceful group when he fired his weapon at them. Nine people were killed.

        One of the victims was the mother of two sons and one daughter. Their names are Chris, Caleb, and Camryn. The oldest, Chris, is a college baseball player for Charleston Southern. He plays center field. Chris is now the head of the family since his mother’s untimely death in the church.

        I give you all that for background information. Now focus for a moment on Chris Singleton.

        Despite the sad event in Charleston, it was my privilege to see baseball fans from Charleston filing into Eagle Stadium. Most of the fans wore tee shirts with the words “Charleston Strong.” Eagle Stadium is located in Ozark, Alabama.

        On the North Charleston, S.C., Dixie Major World Series (19 yrs. and younger) team is Chris Singleton. They played for the championship on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, against Prescott, Arkansas. On a real hot day the two teams played a superb game. The winner was North Charleston by a score of 3-2.

        What part did Chris Singleton play in that game? A huge part! He doubled to advance a valuable runner. But the play that electrified the crowd was a terrific throw from center field to nail a runner at home plate to preserve the 3-2 victory for Chris’ team, North Charleston, S.C.

        After the game Chris Singleton mad a significant statement: “Baseball has been my getaway all summer. To come out and win the World Series is huge. I just want to thank God for that.”

        A sports writer, Jon Johnson, for the Dothan Eagle reported that Chris takes pride in watching over his brother Caleb and sister Camryn.

        Chris Singleton has to be a remarkable young man. From his comments and from his demeanor I am convinced that his faith propels him. The people of Charleston, S.C. have to be commended for their support for the families of the shooting victims. They saw to it that Caleb, 12, was there to watch his big brother star in more than one way.

        God, send us more Chris Singletons!  + + +