Tyler, TX

After 40 years the SonRise Prayer Fellowship, LLC of Tyler, Texas is still raising for the Son

Tour Tyler Texas

Tour Tyler Texas, more than just Tourism - Clarence Shackelford, Community Publicist:

The Sonrise Prayer Fellowship had been meeting at Sweet Sue's Restaurant since 1986, every Thursday at 7 AM until this year when they closed for good. Now the Sonrise Prayer Fellowship is now meeting at the Holiday Inn Tyler - Conference Center 5701 South Broadway Tyler, TX 75703.

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Tour Tyler Texas- Photo by M1Y - Clarence Shackelford TEXT 903.253.5099 - for Tour Tyler Texas

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Tour Tyler Texas- Photo by M1Y - Clarence Shackelford TEXT 903.253.5099 - for Tour Tyler Texas

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Tour Tyler Texas- Photo by M1Y - Clarence Shackelford TEXT 903.253.5099 - for Tour Tyler Texas

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The board of directors of the Sonrise Prayer Fellowship, LLC is Brad Harvey - President/Director, Brain S. Baber - Agent, Mike McClure - Vice President/Director, and Fred Grant - Secretary.

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Tour Tyler Texas- Photo by M1Y - Clarence Shackelford TEXT 903.253.5099 - for Tour Tyler Texas

Sonrise Prayer Fellowship - Early History by Larry Priest

The beginning of the Tyler Auto Christian Fellowship [TACF] was about 1980 - 1982. Not sure. I came along in the fall of 1985 when I took a job selling new Buicks at Tonjes Buick on North Broadway in Tyler. Soon I had to run a car over to our used car lot on North Palace off of Erwin St for an appraisal. As the used car manager was looking the car over, it wasn't too long before a used car salesman there struck up a conversation with me. This was Al Herrington. After that afternoon my life was never quite the same.
Soon the conversation came to Al asking if I was a Christian. I proudly told Al that I was a Christian. That I was a "baby Christian” having recently joined Lindale Methodist Church and been baptized there. My invitation to the Thursday morning meeting of Tyler Auto Christian Fellowship came immediately.

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About 12 people were meeting every Thursday morning at Loggin's Restaurant on Glenwood. I remember Joe Ashworth, Larry Crawley, Jerry Dowdy, and Tom Mallory. All were people from the car selling industry except for Tom Mallory who had been Als' barber and good friend for years. At the meeting, we started with announcements and then prayer concerns. A speaker followed and then a closing prayer. There wasn't any singing in those days as the room was small and there wasn't a piano or sound equipment. Treva Dennis was our first waitress at Loggin's.

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The speaker in those days varied from Paul Powell and J.B. Smith to a memorable fellow who had been sentenced to life in prison for murder. He had found Christ in prison and also had been paroled. From the start, there was always a wide variety of Christian speakers. I remember a recently retired Dallas Cowboy, also. You never knew who Al might have to speak to. We ended the meeting with a short prayer. I remember Al always saying in the prayer these words. "Let's leave with a smile on our faces and song in our hearts and be a good witness to everyone we meet."

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Frankly, I was a young fellow in my early thirties and most of the guys coming to the meeting were older and grayer. I could have felt intimidated, but I always felt at ease and had a wonderful Christian experience each week.

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About this time someone was invited to the meeting and announced that he wasn't a car salesman and wanted to know if he was welcome. Al answered in his classic welcoming way. Al asked if he had ever ridden in a car, and of course, he answered that he had. Al then said that then he was more than welcome. That opened the meetings to everyone. Also, about that time Al started welcoming new attendees by telling them that they were now a member when they walked in the door but if they ever left it would cost them $300. This brought a good chuckle and this has continued through the years. In October of 1986, I bought Sweet Sue's Restaurant and returned to my roots in the restaurant business. Sadly I wasn't able to attend often for a few months, but great things were in store for TACF. Suddenly the attendance swelled to 30 or more and a new meeting place was needed. I had a large meeting room that seats about 50 people so TACF followed me out to Sweet Sue's. A little before that time, Treva Dennis came over to work at Sweet Sue's so she was once again our waitress and was for about 10 years.

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Some of those early members back in 1987 were Hershell Pruit, Roy Bohanan, Coach Floyd Wagstaff, Walter Wagnon, Floyd Weatherall, Chuck Bradford, Floyd Callahan, Leo Berman, Fred Wernette, Joe Daniel, “Prince” Albert, Fred Harris, Claude Terrell, Mike McClure, Booker Edwards, Dr. Bobby Land, Sr., Gary Newman, Franklin Peck, Wayne Ellison, Rev. Jamie Eitson, Bill Davis, “Cheetah” White, Ray Todd, Spencer Miller, Linda Williams, Lacy Brady, Rev. Bill Vick, Ed Smith, Buel Caperton, and many more I can't recall. - Larry Priest

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Sources: https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_tx/0126992301, https://www.TourTylerTexas.org, https://www.EmpowermentCDC.org

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  • Tour Tyler Texas, is more than just Tourism. http://TourTylerTexas.org
  • Tour Tyler Texas, under the auspices of the nonprofit, Empowerment Community Development Corporation which is a Community Organization at 309 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd 75702

LeRoy Francis Sr. dba Community Funeral Home Tyler

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Empowerment Community Development Corporation / http://EmpowermentCDC.org is a 501(c) nonprofit organization with a focus on Education, Arts, Tourism, Veteran Services, Scholarships, Youth Mentorship, History Preservation, Community Development, Housing, and Economic Empowerment.

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I have been a community publicist in East Texas since 1985 in this role I have covered 10's of thousands of special events. I am also the founder of the founder Tour Tyler Texas and the Texas African American Museum

Tyler, TX
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