And, they came from all over “Celebrating A Shepherd …” There was a great celebration held at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist on Nolensville Pike in Nashville, TN, when the doors were opened to funeralize a Nashvillian that was well known throughout the city. The Reverend James Chunn Turner, Sr. who departed this life on May 27, 2013 was laid to rest on Saturday, June 1, 2013. The visitation from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. that preceded the family procession that included Mrs. Donzetta Turner, his wife; Rev. Turner’s three sons, all ministers: the Rev. James C. Turner, II, associate minister, New Hope Baptist Church, Nashville, TN; the Rev. Charles Turner, pastor, New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Houston, Texas with his wife Markesha Turner; and the Rev. Jason Turner, pastor, Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church, Memphis, TN with his wife Bridgett Turner; grandchildren, James C. Turner, III and Josiah Turner; his sister, Patricia Buford, his brother, Charles Turner, both of Rome, GA.; and other family members. The family entered on Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
The Rev. Dr. George Brooks, Sr., officiant, summoned those gathered with the “Call to Worship.” The order of worship followed with the hymn, “Amazing Grace; prayer, the Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush; Old Testament Reading, Isaiah 40:27-31, the Rev. Terry Mackey; New Testament Reading, II Timothy 4:6-8, the Rev. Tony Webb; and Choral Music, The Medley.
Acknowledgements and resolutions were read by Mrs. Blanche Watson. Of the fifteen resolutions received, Mrs. Watson read two, one from the Rev. Al Sharpton and the other from the church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
The service continued with remarks from the Rev. James M. McCarroll, Jr. on behalf of the “Sons & Daughters of the Gospel;” followed by a Choral Selection, Total Praise; there were reflections from the Community, the Honorable Thelma Harper, TN State Senator; the Nashville City Missionary Baptist District Association, the Rev. Jordan Ivey; the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Tennessee, the Rev. Frank Gordon; National Denominational Work, the Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber; From Clergy, the Rev. Darryl Drumwright and the Rev. Edwin Saunders; and the Family, the Rev. Elliot Webb; with a solo, I Won’t Complain, by the Rev. Eric Simmons prior to the eulogy given by the Rev. James “Tex” Thomas. The participants and family recessed on I’m Going to Fly Away.
Rev. Turner was born on February 2, 1942, in Rome, GA to the late Harry Lawrence Turner and Mary Dozier Turner. He was the youngest of three children. He received his formal education at South Rome Elementary School and Main High School in Rome, Georgia. After a move to Bronx, New York, he graduated from Morris High School there in 1960.
In May, 1978 he received a B.A. degree from the American Baptist College of the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville. Prior to coming to Nashville he attended the Philadelphia College of Bible in Philadelphia, PA.
Pastor Turner was licensed to preach the gospel at the Thessalonia Baptist Church, Bronx, New York. In 1966, Pastor Turner united with New Hope M.B.C. under the pastorate of the late Rev. J.F. Grimmett. He was ordained at New Hope on July 13, 1967 by Rev. Grimmett and Rev. Dr. James A. Polite.
It was said that “Rev. Turner’s first ministry and love was his family.” While attending American Baptist, he met and married in June of 1972, the former Donzetta Webb. To this union, their three boys were born. Rev. and Mrs.Turner were married for four decades.
Rev. Turner was installed as the fourth pastor and shepherd of New Hope in August of 1973. He accomplished many great works during his tenure as pastor. On July 4, 1973, Pastor Turner led the congregation into its newly build sanctuary, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1303 Hawkins Street, Nashville 37203.
“Rev. Turner was well loved by his church family and the community and will be missed especially by our family,” said Rev. William R. Watson and his wife Blanche, long time members of the New Hope congregation.
His ministry extended beyond the confines of New Hope Baptist Church. For many years he served as Chaplin of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. He was also active in local, state and national denominational work. For 12 years he served as Moderator of the Nashville City Missionary Baptist District Association. He served Missionary Baptist State Convention of Tennessee for four years as 1st vice president and for four years as 2nd vice president. He was on the Education Board of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
He leaves to mourn his passing, celebrate his legacy, and cherish his memory, his wife, three sons, two grandsons, a sister, a brother, other family members, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Family, Children in Christ, and many dear clergy friends.
The family requested that “in lieu of flowers, donations maybe made to the Rev. James C. Turner, Sr. Scholarship Fund at American Baptist College Office of the Vice President.”
The funeral service was held at 5891 Nolensville Pike in Nashville, TN where the Rev. H. Bruce Maxwell is pastor.
Services were entrusted to New Generation Funeral Home, 2930 Murfreesboro Pile, Antioch, TN. The service of committal and interment was at Scales Cemetery in Kirkland, TN.