Dr. Lee loved my family. And we loved
After my dad's death,
Dr. Lee kept a close watch over my mother,
my sister and me.
He truly embodied the church's
to care for the widow and the fatherless
And we did indeed feel special to him.
I remember the time my mother brought my
sister and me to his office.
Even though we were young, she felt that we
were ready to
accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior
and to join the church.
My sister answered all of Dr. Lee's
and I successfully repeated every word that
my sister said.
(I meant every word, but I always copied my
Charlene and Diana Chiles as
Dr. Lee felt my sister was mature enough to
understand her commitment,
but he was concerned about me.
He told me he would let me know when I was
We always sat on the first row on the right
side of the balcony, and
therefore we had a close bird's eye view
over Dr. Lee.
He would look up towards us every Sunday,
and I took that very personally,
believing he was looking straight at me.
Every Sunday I would smile back,
hoping that would be the day that Dr. Lee
felt me to be "ready."
Finally the Sunday came when, at the
"invitation", Dr. Lee looked up at me
and motioned his hand for me to come to him
. . . and to Jesus.
I was so excited! I have never doubted
Dr. Lee's Letter to Charlene
after her Profession of Faith
(click on picture to
Every child needs to FEEL the love of his or
I know I felt Dr. Lee's love.
And this helped me to understand better the
Love of my Heavenly Father.
I listened to every word of his sermons, and
still remember many of his words.
"Pay Day Someday"
was his most famous sermon.
(I have to admit, for years I thought he was
saying "Pay Day SUNDAY!")
I was eleven years old when Dr. Lee retired
on April 10, 1960.
Dr. Lee passed away on July 20, 1978 at the
age of ninety-one.
Dr. Ramsey Pollard
Pastor: April 24, 1960
-- April 16, 1972
Diana Chiles with her
Pastor, Dr. Ramsey Pollard, 1970.
Our next pastor, Dr. Ramsey Pollard,
had a difficult time winning over the
It wasn't easy to follow Dr. Lee.
A few people were unhappy with Dr. Pollard
as leader of our church.
About two years into his ministry, the
church nearly divided.
We use to have Wednesday night prayer
meetings in the “Lee Auditorium”
-- the original sanctuary for Bellevue.
Normally, only a few people would come.
But one Wednesday evening, something was
There was standing room only. Tension
was in the air.
As Dr. Pollard started to talk, several men
stood up and began yelling,
demanding to call the church into a
It was awful and rude.
This conflict finally climaxed with the
church organizing an official debate.
A person spoke for Dr. Pollard,
followed by a person who spoke against Dr.
This continued for a long time.
At the end of this debate, each person was
given a ballot,
printed with the words “yes” and “no”.
Row by row, the people went up to the front
of the church
to place their ballot in the designated
This vote was to determine whether Dr.
Pollard would stay as pastor or leave.
During the debate, I kept watching Dr.
He was sitting on the front row of the
congregation all alone.
There were hurtful words being said.
The problems that were expressed did not
involve a moral issue
or theological or spiritual conflict.
The problems stemmed from some people not
liking his personality.
He was a quieter man than Dr. Lee, and not
I had loved Dr. Lee too, and yes Dr. Lee was
a remarkable pastor.
And yet even though I was young, I knew
Dr. Pollard was a man of God.
He had even be hand-chosen by Dr. Lee to
Dr. Pollard was Pastor of a church in Knoxville, TN
where he was loved, respected, and held in high esteem.
He was also President of the Southern Baptist Convention at the time
that Dr. Lee got on a plane himself and flew to Knoxville
to meet privately with Dr. Pollard.
Dr. Lee believed Dr. Pollard to be the man
God had chosen to follow him at Bellevue.
And so Dr. Pollard left his church and his city of Knoxville
and moved to Memphis and to Bellevue.
Two years later, this horrible, embarrassing situation was at hand.
This was a heart-breaking ordeal for Dr.
Pollard and his family.
I felt so badly for Dr. Pollard.
So I slipped out of my chair in the
went downstairs and entered the sanctuary.
I walked across the front of the church,
and sat down next to Dr. Pollard.
He looked at me and smiled.
I patted his hand with an "everything's
going to be okay" smile back.
I was an extremely shy child, so this took a
great deal of courage for me.
It is one of my proudest moments.
The church voted for Dr. Pollard to stay.
Around 600 people left the church as a
This ended up being a good thing.
Those who remained were people who were less judgmental,
more gracious, and certainly more Christ-Centered.
Our church may been smaller, but in many ways it became stronger.
FEW people will ever rise to the glories of Dr. Lee and Dr. Rogers,
but MANY will experience a time when he or she faces opposition.
I imagine this is how Dr. Pollard got his reputation as
"A Friend to Preachers."
Pastors sought his guidance when they too went through
hard times with their ministries.
Dr. Pollard set a beautiful example of how to respond
in a time of discontent -- when someone turns against you.
And these were good lessons for me to learn and witness
while still "in my youth".
"O Lord, so many are against me.
So many seek to harm me.
So many say that God will never help me.
But Lord, you are my shield,
my glory, and my only hope.
You alone can lift my head,
now bowed in shame.
I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me.
Then I lay down and slept in peace
and woke up safely,
for the Lord was watching over me."
Psalms 3:1 -- 5
When I myself have gone through hard times,
I have thought about this experience,
and the "example" set by Dr. Pollard.
When Dr. Pollard retired in April 1972, he was able to hold his head high.
He knew that he was loved and appreciated, especially our family.
AND, the church was fully primed and prepared for our next pastor.
Dr. and Mrs. Pollard with my
Mom, Dorothy Chiles, in 1977.
As a child, teenager and young adult my
Minister of Music was Dr. Tommy Lane.
Dr. Tommy Lane was a wonderful, talented man.
He was such an important part of the church and of our lives.
He was Minister of Music for Dr. Lee, Dr. Pollard, and Dr. Rogers.
He served for 38 years!
-- Thirteen years with Dr. Lee,
-- Twelve years with Dr. Pollard,
-- and Thirteen years with Dr. Rogers.
He retired on April 6, 1986.
We adored him and his family!
Dr. Tommy Lane helped to
give me a love for music.
I was very active in the Music Program in my
growing up years.
* * *
After I graduated from Messick High School
I went to Mississippi College in Clinton,
I became a part of a wonderful circle of
Our social life centered on activities with
the Baptist Student Union.
We prayed together, laughed together,
and took on meaningful causes as we worked
together to change the world.
Graduation day from
Mississippi College, May, 1970.
I graduated from Mississippi College in 1970
with a BA,
and returned the next year to be earn my
Masters of Education Degree,
and to work as a Graduate Assistant for the
Charlene and Diana during
our young adult years
Immediately upon graduation in August of
1971 with my Masters,
I left for Florida, where I taught Speech
and Drama at
Haines City High School in Haines City,
I lived in Lakeland, Florida with my
Frances Elmore Haley Chiles.
My grandmother had lived alone since my
It was great to spend this time with such a
grand and brilliant lady of virtue.
My Grandmother was a gifted poet, and
several of her poems were published.
Diana Chiles, School Teacher
Haines City High School
Haines City, Florida
Living in Florida during my young adult
years was also precious to me
because I was very close to my Florida
My father had been born and raised in Lakeland, Florida,
and most of my father's cousins and aunts and uncles lived there.
(My dad's first cousin, Lawton Chiles,
was a US Senator from 1970 -- 1989, and was
Governor of Florida from 1990 until his death in 1998.)
While teaching school, I also worked at a
very small church in Lakeland, Florida,
Edgewood Baptist Church, as their Youth
This small group of teenagers and I grew
(And we had the best "Puppet Youth Team" in
the state of Florida!)
This was a golden time in my life.
* * *
In the meantime, my sister moved to California after her college graduation.
She worked as a TWA Airline Hostess and
traveled all over the world.
It wasn't long before she met Ruedi.
Ruedi was born and raised in Aldorf, Switzerland.
(When Ruedi first arrived in America,
he was twenty-two and didn't speak English!)
Ruedi and Charlene married and settled in San Jose, California.
* * *
In the summer of 1972, after my first year
of teaching school,
I returned home to Memphis to work in
Bellevue's Youth Camps.
Dr. Pollard had retired that year,
and the church was in the process of finding
a new pastor.
I was twenty-two years old.
On August 18, 1972,
my last Sunday before I had to return to
Florida to begin my second year of teaching,
Dr. Adrian P. Rogers preached.
The congregation enthusiastically voted to
call him as Pastor.
There was such a "sweet sweet spirit in that
I will always remember that moment.
How wonderful to have been a witness to that
Dr. Adrian Rogers, with his
Pastor: September 10,
1072 -- March, 2005
Born: September 12, 1931
Died: November 15, 2005
Dr. Rogers' first official day as Pastor was
September 10, 1972.
And thus began the "Glory Days" of our
(And this continued for thirty-two years!)
My Mother's letters were full of joy and
news about this new pastor.
I was able to return home for the summers of
1973 and 1974.
I was very involved with the church during those
I served as a Counselor for each of Bellevue's youth
I sang in the Choir, and was a part of Evangelism
Explosion, etc. etc.
Dr. Rogers reached out to my age group and
we felt very close to him.
Every Sunday evening after church my "gang"
would go to El Chico.
Dr. Rogers went there as well, and he would
often come over and sit with us.
We had marvelous fellowship and
conversations around that table.
In those days, he had not been "discovered"
yet, so he was very assessable.
I felt as if we were a part of a small-town
Under Dr. Rogers' leadership the church grew
This was a good thing -- and a sad thing to me. I still miss those early
Because my sister and I returned home often
to visit Mom,
through out the years our hearts continued
to be a part of this church,
even while we lived far away.
Dr. Jim Whitmire
Minister of Music, 1975 --
Dr. James Whitmire came to Bellevue as
Minister of Youth Music in 1975.
Dr. Whitmire and Dr. Rogers had worked
together at their church in Florida,
and they were quite a team together.
After Dr. Tommy Lane's retirement in April
he became Bellevue's Minister of Music.
Dr. Whitmire began several yearly musical
such as the Singing Christmas Tree,
Passion Play, and Celebrate America.
My Mother and my Uncle Bill never missed a
often attending every dress rehearsal and
Although I had moved away from Memphis when
the productions began,
I also got to see the productions due to my
frequent visits home.
In the meantime, I resigned my teaching and
moved to Fort Worth, Texas,
where I entered
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
My studies focused on Family Counseling with
an emphasis in Grief Counseling.
in Texas, I went through a difficult time in my life.
ironic that I was taking classes on how to counsel and comfort others
I was faced with a personal loss and crisis of my own.
turned out, my greatest lessons in a broken life, grief, comfort, and healing
not come from a classroom, but from my own life experiences.
"What a wonderful God we have --
he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of every mercy,
and the one who so wonderfully
and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
And why does he do this?
So that when others are trouble,
needing our sympathy and
we can pass on to them this same
help and comfort
that God has given to us.
II Corinthians: 3--5
Dr. J.W. MacGorman, Head of
the New Testament Department
Fort Worth, Texas
My greatest blessing during those seminary
was having the honor of working as the
for the Head of the New Testament
Department, Dr. J.W. MacGorman.
This godly man became a father figure for
His wisdom, counsel, and spiritual guidance
enriched my life more than he could ever know.
Dr. MacGorman is now retired.
I was able to attend the dedication ceremony for the
J.W. "Jack" MacGorman Conference Center
which took place on
September 10, 2001.
It was wonderful that such
as Godly and Beloved Man
received such an honor while
he was still alive!
I flew back to Memphis that
Upon Graduation from Southwestern,
I accepted a position in Jackson,
where I worked as a Pediatric Therapist
for the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center
for twelve years,
from June 1979 until March 1991.
These were good years,
and I loved living near several of my good
old friends from my college days.
My years at Mississippi
Baptist Medical Center were fulfilling!
In 1979, my sister and her husband, Charlene and Ruedi,
were blessed with the birth of Frances "Haley".
When Haley was five, they moved from California to North Carolina,
where their fervent prayers for more children were answered.
In 1990, my sister and her family moved to
Her three little girls, Haley, Robin, and
immediately started praying that their “Aunt Di Di”
would move back to Memphis too.
Neither God nor I could ignore those sweet
In 1991, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee
invited me to be their Pediatric Therapist,
which I gladly accepted.
My first official day at Le Bonheur was March 18, 1991.
This brought me full circle back to my home
and back to my family.
Mother was so thrilled to have both her
daughters back "home".
Returning home gave me the chance to watch first hand
the day-by-day growing up activities of my nieces.
By living in the same city,
I was able to attend all church choir and
pee-wee cheerleading, sports events,
and the odds and ins of every day events in
a child's life.
I will always treasure these memories and this time in my life.
I LOVED my job!
I thank God for giving me
this special ministry in such a respected medical facility.
This is where I plan to stay
as long as God allows me this gift.
Returning to Memphis also allowed me
to rejoin the church of my childhood and my youth, Bellevue Baptist Church.
It has been great to be a part of such a special church.
I was twenty-two when Dr. Rogers first came
When I returned home to Memphis in 1991, I
was forty-two years old.
(An entire second life-time!)
It was a joy to return "HOME."
By that time the church had grown to HUGH
It was different than before, but the sweet
spirit had prevailed.
My sister's three daughters had the gift of
in the same church of our own childhood.
During their years in Memphis and at
each niece of mine made a profession of
faith and was baptized.
Haley, a young girl, full of
Grace and beauty, being baptized at the old Bellevue Baptist Church.
Through out her life, her
heart has remained steadfast in her Christian Devotion.
My precious mother adored Dr. Rogers and his
sweet wife, Joyce.
My uncle Bill and Mom were able to travel to
the Holy Lands with them,
and that trip was one of the highlights of
both of their lives.
Dorothy Chiles, with
brother, Bill Lindenmayer,
on a trip to the Holy Lands
with Dr. Adrian and Joyce Rogers
Mother volunteered as a tour guide at the
Bill taught piano in Bellevue's Performing
And they were there every time the doors
My mother has a major stroke in January
She suffered severe dementia that left her
in a child-like state of mind.
I sold my home in mid-town and moved into
Mother's home to care for her.
It's amazing how everything can change in
simply one day.
Over night, our lives were different.
Joyce Rogers, our pastor's wife, sent mom a
cassette of songs she had sung herself.
I played this tape for Mother every night,
and mom loved it so much.
I could visibly watch how Joyce's music
calmed and comforted her.
Taking care of my Mother bonded me towards
her in a way I can't describe.
Our roles had changed.
It had become my turn to take care of her,
to provide for her,
to comfort her, to protect her, and to love
just as she had loved me and tried to
protect me through out my life.
She was so excited to see me walk through
Sometimes she knew who I was --
sometimes she thought I was her Mother --
sometimes she didn't know who I was --
but she was always glad to see me!
Due to her stoke, Mother became homebound,
which home-bounded me as well.
Through out my life, Mother had sat on the
front row of every church service.
Although it had now become impossible for us
to GO to church,
our church CAME to us!
Both of us became faithful members of "Love
Bellevue's television ministry.
Sunday morning, I would comb mother's hair,
fix her up,
sit her in front of the TV with her bible in
and turn on the television to the church
I have video-taped several of these private
It was so sweet!
Because of mother's dementia,
she was often confused and had forgotten a
BUT, she knew every bible verse and sang
along with every old hymn.
And her facial expressions were priceless.
Thank you, Bellevue, for providing "Love
I never understood until Mom's stroke just
how important that service
is to the many people out there who are
unable to leave their homes.
It was a special gift to my Mother . . . and
This picture was taken
during Haley's Bridal Shower held at my home.
Mom was my "co-host" for the
Haley with her
Grandmother at her Bridal Shower.
Mother died August 2, 2001.
(Our Dad had been buried on August 2, 1949.)
Grandchildren say good-bye.
She died surrounded by
her family who loved her so much!
Our family took her body to Washington DC
where she was buried next to her husband.
Sitting on that beautiful hill in Arlington,
we reflected on how our mother had sat on
that same hill
fifty-two years earlier --
a young widow with two small children.
It is comforting to know that my parents are
Their gravesite overlooks the Pentagon and
the Washington Monument.
In my opinion, their site is in the most
beautiful section of Arlington.
Mother was buried next to
her husband in Arlington National Cemetery on August 14, 2001.
On January 15, 2003, I had an operation to
remove a brain tumor.
My precious Uncle Bill died suddenly on
February 1, 2003,
two weeks after my brain tumor surgery.
That was strange. He had been so
concern for me and my life,
and then he was the one who died.
He had been struggling with Colon Cancer,
but we all thought he was doing well.
Billy was the third child born to my
Because Billy was several years younger than
my Uncle Dave and my Mom,
and also because he was born crippled,
my Mother and Dave always looked out for
They were very close.
After Dave's death, my Mother even became
more protective over Billy.
He was always there in my family, as he had
never married or had children of his own.
He was a quiet, sweet gentle and talented
William Henry Lindenmayer.
Born: July 9,
Died: February 1, 2003
Concert Pianist, Music
Uncle Billy was a great
encourager for my sister and me through out our lives.
Billy never missed Bernard's Birthday
"Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of one of his Saints."
Bill touched and inspired many lives.
He lived next door to me and we shared the
same back yard.
I miss hearing his beautiful piano music and
his marvelous laugh.
* * *
On May 30, 2006,
I went into the hospital for another surgery ...
this time for uterine cancer.
I nearly died during the surgery.
Knowing this makes each "extra" day in my life even
I have past the five year point and am still cancer free.
* * *
For many years our family enjoyed sharing
and worship in the same city.
And all of us loved living in the "Glory
Days" of our church
under the leadership of Dr. Rogers and Dr.
* * *
Things have changed in our church.
Dr. Rogers retired in March 6, 2005.
Our church has a new pastor now,
Dr. Steve Gaines.
Dr. Steve Gaines, and his
Pastor: September 11,
2005 -- Present
His first sermon as Pastor was preached on
Dr. Adrian Rogers "passed the mantle" by
washing Dr. Gaines' feet.
I was singing in the choir that day and had
a close personal view.
It was so touching, and I cried, knowing
that history was passing by.
Little did we know that Dr. Rogers had only
a few more weeks to live.
Dr. Adrian P. Rogers died November 15, 2005.
ADRIAN PIERCE ROGERS
Our beloved pastor for thirty-two years.
September 12, 1931 – November 15, 2005
On several occasions, Dr. Rogers proclaimed:
“When my time comes, don’t be sorry for me;
I’ll be kicking up gold dust on the streets of glory.”
"To be absent from the body
is to be present with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:8
farewell. Become complete.
Be of good comfort, be of
one mind, live in peace;
and the God of love and
peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11
(click on picture to enlarge)
Adrian P. Rogers
Another milestone for our church took place
on December 18, 2005,
with the retirement of our Minister of
Music, Dr. Jim Whitmire.
Oh how our church will miss him!
Thank goodness he will be returning from
time to time.
His ministry will indeed live on and on
in the seeds he has planted through out the
(click on picture to enlarge)
Robin, with our new pastor,
Dr. Steve Gaines and his wife, Donna.
December 18, 2005
In January 15, 2006, Rev. Jamie Parker
became our Minister of Music.
(click on picture to enlarge)
Rev. Jamie Parker, and his
Minister of Music, Worship:
January 15, 2006--July 2009
The Minister of Music baton was passed on
to one of Bellevue's bright shining stars.
Jamie was the Minister of Youth Music at
Bellevue for ten years,
and all three of my nieces were in his
Jamie left Bellevue in 2003 to become
Minister of Music
at the First Baptist Church in Gardendale,
where Dr. Steve Gaines was pastor before
coming to Bellevue.
Jamie has a God-Given talent, and it is a
joy to hear him sing!
He sang for my mother's funeral.
Needless to say, everyone in our family
It was GREAT to welcome Jamie back to
It was fun singing in the choir under his leadership.
Sadly, Jamie moved to Dyersburg, TN in 2009.
Nevertheless, I am grateful that he was here for a
Rev. Mark Blair
Minister of Music:
August 20, 2007 -- Present
Mark came to Bellevue as "Minister of Music, Special Productions".
He became Minister of Music when Jamie moved to Dyersburg.
Because I had a part
in the 2007 Singing Christmas Play,
I was given the first
hand gift of getting to know Mark personally.
He is hilarious, very
professional, a marvelous director,
and a wonderful
addition to our Music Ministry.
Our new pastor, Dr. Steve Gaines, has big
shoes to fill.
But he can. And he will.
I like our new pastor. His wife,
Donna, is lovely and sweet.
He is funny, loves to sing, and it is
obvious that he loves Jesus.
He is leading our church well.
Time marches on ... and people come and go.
I thank God for each of these Godly people who have
inspired my life
and the lives of my family.
So . . . the ministry of this wonderful
church goes on and on.
As for my family?
My sister and I are now the older generation
in our family --
a new stage in our own Circle of Life.
Our family has once again scattered and now
live in various parts of the earth.
My brother-in-law retired, and he and my
sister moved to the mountains.
My oldest niece, Haley, married a wonderful
Christian young man, Andrew.
They have four adorable children! They
too moved away.
Robin, my middle niece, lives in an
apartment close to her parents.
My youngest niece, Annaliese,
graduated from college in May, 2007.
She married her college sweetheart, Bret, in July,
now off to new lands and new adventures.
As for my own ministry?
I have gone through a significant change ...
one I never dreamed would happen to me in my life
After 34 years of utilizing Bernard to help comfort
with 20 of those years working at Le Bonheur Children's
on a Monday, June 20, 2011,
my boss made an appointment with me at 4:30 PM.
I did think that timing was odd ... at the end of the
When I walked into the room, there sat a person from
Human Resources and
the Leader over our Division, and my boss.
My heart sank to my feet.
And then I heard the words: "Your position has
I was devastated. Heart-broken. Shocked.
Once again, I found myself in a position where I had
to cry out to my God
to be with me, to comfort me, and to give me
Life is indeed like a roller coaster at times.
Sometimes we are high and at the top.
I have climbed a mountain before ... and it was
thrilling ... beautiful.
Sometime we are in a valley ... low ... and
I have been there several times before ... and I can
that God has brought me through the darkest hours
So once again ... I found myself in need of prayer.
On my knees.
But thanks to the love and the prayers of God's
I am doing well.
"There's a peace I've come
to know though my heart and flesh may fail.
There's an anchor for my soul. I
can say it is well."
Another song which has meant a lot to me at this time
is an old song
that I learned when I was a
senior in high school ...
"He is able. He is able. I know God is
I know my God is able to carry me through."
This song is ringing in my heart tonight as I write
As with most people, in times of trouble,
I long to crawl into the lap of my mother and
My sweet mother always knew just the right words to
when I fell down and got hurt.
She loved my sister and me unconditionally.
Because my dad died when I was seven months old,
I never had the luxury of crawling into his lap for
his words of wisdom.
But he left some for me just the same.
My father wrote beautiful letters to my mom
while he was serving as a fighter pilot
on the Navy Carrier, the U.S.S.
These are his words from one of those letters:
"Do not despair for the uncertainty of the future.
It has looked black before.
Someone has always come through,
and if trouble develops, why can’t it be us?
The insurance I have in which I place my stock
is the assurance that I’ll go to heaven come what may.
With faith in God and this assurance, how can we lose?
I have been amazed at the outpouring of love and
that has come my way because of this situation.
It is humbling. I am grateful for a ministry
that lasted 34 years.
back over my life, I have known both joy and sorrow.
known times when I had strength enough to fly with the eagles!
there have been times when I was broken and brought to my knees.
been blessed with marvelous friends and a dear and precious family.
Through it all, I have felt God's presence and his Mercy.
have known God's Grace.
A special lady
at Le Bonheur use to greet me each day with
for another day!!!!!!"
same time, what a glorious day it will be
when I face Jesus on my first day in
are many of my loved ones in Heaven waiting for me.
brings me closer to seeing them again!
then, I am grateful for today.