Although I am sure I met Harold and Marie Green Kelley several years before I became their pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, I have learned many significant facts about the gifts and talents of Harold that I did not know that have blessed me in recent months after almost 38 years of my association with him, his wife, and family.
No one could ever miss noticing Harold and Marie Kelley. They both played a prominent role of leadership in the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Marie was active in Women's Ministries (which was called Women's Auxiliary) and served on the Alabama Women's Auxiliary Conference Board. Harold served as Superintendent of the Sunday school, and was President of Sunday school for the conference for several years. In addition, he served on our church board as a deacon for many years.
It was Harold’s aunt, Ruby Kelley Pate, who introduced Harold and Marie Green. Harold had moved from Fayette, AL, to Birmingham. Ruby who was married to Vernon Pate, the Superintendent of the Alabama Conference, invited Harold to attend the First Pentecostal Holiness Church that was then located in Norwood in an old Methodist church our congregation had purchased. Ruby wanted Harold to meet Marie Green. Harold accepted the invitation the Wednesday night the Emmanuel College Singers sang their concert. It was there he met Marie, and the rest is history. They were married and God gave them two beautiful and intelligent girls, Lisa and Kalani. Today, they have 10 grandchildren.
Shortly after we moved from Oklahoma City into the church parsonage in Hover, Alabama in 1977, Harold and Marie came to visit us. Harold plowed up a space for a small garden in our back yard and planted tomatoes and other veggies for us to enjoy.
The Kelley family and the Morgan family bonded immediately in a relationship of love and appreciation for one another. We attended the annual River Springs Camp Meetings in south Alabama as resident campers. Our children participated in Junior and Senior Teen Talent, and we attended those talent sessions, as well as Sunday school Conventions, and General Conferences. Those times of fellowship and interaction will never be forgotten.
I introduced our congregation in downtown Birmingham, the Good Shepherd Pentecostal Holiness Church, to the Bill Gothard Youth Conflicts Seminars, and a whole host of our people attended each year at the Birmingham Civic Center within walking distance from our downtown church. Harold took the teachings to heart and applied the dynamic Biblical principles he learned in his life and ministry. He continues to use those principles today.
Let me share with you a story I recently read and talked with Harold Kelley about. The story was written by Bo Black, Associate Editor of the Times Record in Fayette, Alabama. The following is the fascinating story of a young high school athlete who achieved great things during his basketball career at Fayette County High School.
"Fayette, AL—A trio of teammates from FCHS (Fayette County High School) basketball teams ranging from 1956 to 1958 along with a member of the 1958 state championship team were inducted into the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, August 9, 2014.
"Melvin Howard, Harold Kelley and Jerry Lawrence all had fond recollections of a 20-18 win over Scottsboro in 1957 AA semifinals after being blown away by more than 30 points earlier in the season against Scottsboro.
"'That was back when there were no three-points, no shot clock and we played like that,'" Howard said.
"After defeating Winfield by one point, the team came in the following Monday to prepare for the state tournament. Kelley said Coach J.B. McClendon didn’t focus on the first team they would face. He didn’t focus on the second team. The team they focused on was Scottsboro.
"'He said we’re going to freeze the ball,’ Kelley said of his coach’s strategy. 'He showed how we were going to do it and we planned it. The game went to two overtimes.'"
"Kelley said the arena was packed with Scottsboro fans and ‘they didn’t appreciate it. They were 32-0. Hardly anyone had come close to beating them."
"Lawrence continued with his memory of the game.
"'I was assigned to play nose-to-nose against Pat Trammell. Pat and I were not very friendly,' he said. 'At that time I wore glasses when I played, and the whole game he was right in my face and he questioned me about my family tree.'
[Editor's Note: Pat Trammell played quarterback for the Crimson Tide of Alabama when Bear Bryant was the head football coach. They won the National Collegiate Football Championship in 1961.]
"Kelley was a three-year starter and was the leading scorer of the 1957 season.
"He was voted as the Outstanding Player in 1957, along with being All-Region and All-State.
"Harold Kelley went on to play semi-pro basketball for 10 years."
"Harold thanked his family of 30-plus who attended the ceremony."
"'It really means a lot to me for my family to be here to support me,' he said.
"Kelley said that basketball started in the second grade for him. At that point, he made his own basketball goal because his family couldn’t afford one. Kelley said he shot pairs of socks into his bucket.
"'I appreciate Fayette,' Kelley said. 'It means so much to me. I got a great education here. I had some wonderful teachers. I could name all of the teachers I had in high school. They mean so much to me. The one thing I regret about that is I left Fayette and I’ve never come back to tell those teachers how much they meant to me and what they did for me in my life.'
"Kelley said Coach McClendon was one of the best coaches ever and that he did have an opportunity to visit with his former coach in Atlanta, and it was 'one of the best days ever."
"Harold Kelley told those gathered when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, 'that he had won many trophies for his basketball playing days. I have some of those trophies in the attic of my house, a few are tarnished, some have been given to Goodwill, and dust is on the ones I have.
"'They aren’t worth very much today. However, the greatest award I have ever been given was when I invited Jesus Christ into my heart and life. I was given eternal life and a future in heaven after this life. My life was transformed and God has directed my life."
Harold Kelley told the story about Albert Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, he reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
It wasn't there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it. The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it."
Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one."
Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.”
Harold told the audience that as a minister and a chaplain he often ministers to elderly people who are near to the end of their earthly life. Many of them do not know where they are going. I hope you do who are here tonight. You can when you give your life to Jesus.
To hear Harold’s testimony you may go to this video on YouTube by Clicking Here.
Harold Kelley has another ministry God gave him. It is called “The Cup of Cold Water.” It started in October 2012. Harold said, "I know God spoke to me about starting a ministry of baking cream cheese pound cakes. I give them to families that have a death, families who have someone in the hospital, families who need encouraging, assisted living and nursing home patients, new visitors in the church, friends, neighbors and whoever the Lord tells me to give one. Sometimes, I ship one out of town, even out of state.”
When I spoke with Harold on Sunday, December 27, 2015, he told me of this ministry of baking cheese cakes he had record of 750 cakes he has given away. Several months ago, Harold sent Melvine, Greg and me a cake. We can give testimony to how rich and good they are.
Harold and Marie have laying hens. Marie’s contribution to this exciting ministry is that she is the one who gathers the eggs from the hens. She talks to them and compliments them when they produce eggs. Harold puts six eggs into every cake he bakes. We can tell you Harold’s cake was the best pound cake we have ever eaten. They are so rich and tasty. They will put a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and a song on your lips.
For Father’s Day in 2013, Lisa and Kalani gave him a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Oh, my, there is so much more I would like tell you about Harold Kelley and his family.
Let me share just a few more nuggets of information.
God’s gracious hand has been upon Harold Kelley and his family.
God gave Harold a brilliant career with Sears. His leadership gifts were evident to all who were in authority. When he retired he was the District Sales Representative for some 10 Sears stores that were all successful. Harold was even tempered. I can never recall any time when he ever lifted his voice, and he treated everyone with respect. He just knew how to get along with everyone.
One of the significant things Harold and Marie Kelley did, and there were many, was they found the property for our church the congregation desired to build, Good Shepherd Church, It is located at 2250 Blue Ridge Blvd Hoover, AL 35226-3134, It is the site we eventually purchased near the Alford Avenue Exit just off of I-65 in Hoover, Alabama, over the mountain from Birmingham.
After serving Good Shepherd Pentecostal Holiness Church for many years, Harold and Marie, felt led of God to move their membership to Garywood Assembly of God Church where John Loper was the senior pastor. John Loper, in my opinion, was one of the finest men I have ever known and was a prince of pastors. John asked Harold to serve as the Church Administrator at his large and growing church, and he served in that position for some sixteen years. In addition, he served as the Christian Education Director for a number of years at Garywood as well.
Whatever Harold did he did with excellence.
Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit led Harold and Marie Kelley to Metro Church of God where Dr. Kirk Walters serves as the senior pastor. The church facility is magnificent and is a prominent landmark on the 459 by pass of Birmingham near Hoover and River Chase, and the Galleria, near the largest indoor mall in the Southeast. Raymond Culpepper was the pastor when this magnificent church was constructed. He was a pastoral friend of mine during the time of my pastorate in Birmingham.. He later went on to elected as the General Overseer of the Church of God in Cleveland, TN, a sister denomination to the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Meanwhile, Harold Kelley never stopped pursuing a desire to be ordained for ministry in the church. Today, Harold is in the process of obtaining ordination in the Church of God. He currently serves as a pastoral care minister, as well as the Community Chaplain.
Most of all, Harold Kelley is a soul winner. On his business card he has these words printed on the back:
“If you were to die today, Do you know without a doubt you would go straight to Jesus! Call me and let’s talk.” He gives his telephone number.
I know of no other man who has served with honor and distinction in all three major Pentecostal denominations as Harold Kelley has . . . the Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Assemblies of God, and the Church of God. He has maintained a love and appreciation for each of these denominations while continuing to minister wherever God has planted him and his family. God has indeed enlarged his borders, coast, and territory.
I am honored to be a friend to Harold and Marie Kelley and their family.
Harold and Marie came to our 50th Wedding Anniversary in August 2010 that Greg and Stephanie gave us at the lovely fellowship building of the Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Bethlehem, Georgia. Then, they came to the visitation, memorial service and graveside service when Stephanie died in August 2012.
It is my prayer that this tribute to Harold Kelley will be a blessing in your life, and his testimony inspire you to serve God with the gifts and talents He has given to you.
I am highly honored to name Harold Kelly as the 2015 Hugh's News Man of the Year.