Deliverance Tabernacle asking for street name change

Published 11:14 am Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Deliverance Tabernacle asking for street name change

Bishop E.M. Fondren

Members of Deliverance Tabernacle Pentecostal Church on Everette St. have asked the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen to change the name of the street to honor their minister, Bishop E.M. Fondren.
The 94-year-old Fondren has led the church since 1999, and has been in the ministry for 73 years.
His daughter, Mary Murphy, serves as the church secretary and sought the city’s approval of the street name change at the board’s second March meeting.
“My father has worked for the cause of Christ and for the people of this community that he loves for many years now,” Murphy said. “We believe it would be a real tribute to him and his ministry to have the street named in his honor.”
Aldermen made no decision at the meeting, telling Murphy they would rather have a memorial sign placed on the street, recognizing the minister.
Rather than go through the legal procedure of changing the name of Everette St., the board suggested the congregation go through other channels to have a memorial sign placed on the street designating the street as “Bishop E.M. Fondren Way.”
A similar sign recognizing the late Rep. Leonard Morris was placed on Hwy. 315 this year.
Alderman Stan Harrison said although there are few houses on the street (less than 10), a name change would entail postal service address changes that could be confusing.
“We wouldn’t want anybody to miss their mail,” he said.
Bishop Fondren began while still serving in the U.S. Army, and has preached on street corners, in tent revivals, and in numerous cities around the Southeast.
“Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate all that he has done for people during his ministry,” Murphy said. “That’s why is congregation has so much love for him.”
Besides a long ministry, Fondren worked more than 20 years for National Rose Furniture Company in Memphis, and was a licensed and practicing barber for almost 30 years.
The bishop was also active in the Habitat for Humanity program in Batesville for many years, participating in the construction of several houses – two of them on Everette Street.
Fondren doesn’t preach often now, with his associates, Ministers Ellen Benson Ford, Charles Bramlett, and Rodney Johnson.
“The Lord has given the bishop a gift for prayer,” Murphy said of her father.
She said the congregation will continue to push for the street named to be changed, but will also consider other options.

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