A History of Mississippi Association of Church Ushers
The Mississippi Association of Church Ushers was organized on June 14, 1960 by Rev. Fred Duckens at the Pilgrim M. B. Church, pastored by Rev. E. W. Cornelious. Rev. Duckens called a group of people together to set up an adequate system of church ushering that would extend to rural areas to train others in order to make the church services better.
Working in the organization at its beginning was J. E. McNeamer who was state president. Mr. McNeamer worked mostly in the city of Jackson, Mississippi. Others who worked were Mr. Shelby McLaurin, Mr. Nathaniel Heard and Mr. G. C. Williams. The organization had three churches: Pilgrim M. B. Church, St. Matthew M. B. Church, and St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. The first name of the organization was the Hinds County Ushers Association, but as the organization began to grow, other churches outside of Hinds County joined. Consequently, it became necessary to change the name from Hinds County Ushers Association to Adjoining Counties Ushers Association. The organization operated under this name for three years. Then there was a problem. There was another association who had the same name. Therefore, the name of the association was changed to the Central Mississippi Association of Church Ushers. The association grew with the help of the Lord. The association set up membership in Copiah County with eighteen churches on roll, Scott County had an enrollment of 8 churches, and Yazoo County was originally on roll, but had been inactive for three years. Rev. Fred Duckens, Mr. Aaron George, and Mr. W. M. Walker filed an application for the association to become a corporation. On January 16, 1969, the association became a legal corporation in the state of Mississippi.
In the summer of 1975, President Duckens and his wife, Mrs. Mildred Duckens, and Mrs. Allen Lindsey attended the National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. They were informed by the National United Church Ushers of America that in order to receive the state charter the association would have to change the name by removing the word, “Central.” On September 3, 1975, the name was changed to Mississippi Association of Church Ushers. In 1987 Mississippi was chartered by the National United Church Ushers of America, Inc. Today, the association is still legally functioning as a non-profit corporation in the state of Mississippi. Currently, there are three districts: Claiborne County, Hinds/Utica, and Jackson/Pearl. There are approximately 20 churches on roll.
The goal of the founders of the association was to make every usher in the state of Mississippi a member of the Mississippi Association of Church Ushers. This is still a dream that is alive in the hearts and minds of the current membership. In 1977 the state hosted the first Southern Region Conference (SRC) in Jackson, Mississippi. Since then the state of Mississippi has hosted the 1997, 2004, and 2011 SRCs. The founder Rev. Duckens served as president until his death in 1990. In 1990 Louis Buck was elected president and served until 2003. William Shoto served as president from 2003-2006. Dr. Linda Barnes-Pates was elected as president in 2006. At the 2012 State Convention, Ron Jones was elected as President.
The following has been elected or appointed as Southern Region Officers: Louis Buck, Assistant Director; Dr. Linda Pates, Credential Chairperson, Assistant Financial Secretary, Financial Secretary, Assistant Director, and Treasurer; Marian Garner, Assistant Financial Secretary; Ron Jones and Ethel Myles, Chaplain; Colleen Green, Leroy Johnson Building Fund Chairman; Cora Obie, Assistant Junior Supervisor and Junior Supervisor; and Wilma Shoto-Ridge, Assistant Queen Coordinator.The following has been elected or appointed as National Officers: William Shoto, Nominating Committee and
Dr. Pates elected as Treasurer.