June 20, 2007 Edition

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Trails' tenure here marked by
service to church, community


Steve Trail has begun the process of packing up the many books in his study at First Free Will Baptist Church. Steve and his wife, Judy, will be moving to Dothan, Ala., at the end of this month.
John Bland
Publisher

Rev. Steve and Judy Trail have spent the past 13 years and 11 months in Walnut Ridge, where he has been pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church, and Judy has served as church secretary.

At the end of this month, the Trails will be moving to Dothan, Ala., where he will be senior pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Dothan, a city in southeast Alabama with a population of 62,000.

This Sunday will be his last to preach, and after the morning service, the Trails will be honored with a potluck lunch. Afterward, the public is invited to join the church in honoring the Trails at a reception in the church fellowship hall from 2 to 4 p.m.

In their line of work, the Trails are accustomed to making moves, and he grew up moving from place to place during his father's 22-year career in the Navy. However, it is obvious that this move will be a little harder as they have put down roots.

This has been Trail's longest pastorate at one church, and his tenure here is the longest of any pastor in the church's history.

"Pastoring this church has been very rewarding," Trail said. "We have a wonderful church family whom we love very dearly. We just feel like it's God's timing ~ something we've been considering for about a year."

"We feel we've made some lifelong friends who we'll stay in contact with for years to come," he added.

Don Alls, deacon at the church, said, "We're sorry that they're leaving, but we understand. They've been a great asset to our church for the last 14 years."

Despite growing up in a military family, Trail managed to spend his last two years of high school in Poplar Bluff, Mo. There, he met and graduated with his future wife, Judy Crossen. Judy's parents still reside in Poplar Bluff.

The Trails have now been married almost 37 years. He began preaching in February of 1975 and has been serving as a pastor/missionary since June 1975.

The churches and communities they have served since 1975 are: New Home Free Will Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, First Free Will Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Rose Hill Free Will Baptist Church in Monticello and Victory Free Will Baptist Church in Pineville, La., near Alexandria, where they lived before coming to Walnut Ridge.

Church, community ministries are numerous

During their years at First Free Will Baptist, Trail has shared his leadership abilities in helping direct several special projects. For several years, the church presented an Easter Passion Play with multiple performances.

They have also presented a singing Christmas tree for the public. Trail has been a soloist for these special events, as well as other services.

The church also has a very active youth group, as well as a senior citizens group. The youth have won national competitions, and Wednesday night suppers at the church have been one of several youth fund-raisers. The seniors group has monthly luncheons and has taken annual trips, led by the Trails, to Branson.

Trail and the church have also ministered to the community by hosting blood drives and being involved in the Shepherd Care clothing ministry, which was established here in 2001.

Trail said that he and Ruskin Falls, First Presbyterian Church minister at the time, put their heads together in forming Shepherd Care, a project of the Lawrence County Ministerial Alliance.

"We're very thankful for the Shepherd Care ministry and the positive impact that it's had on our community," Trail said.

Prior to Shepherd Care, First Free Will Baptist Church had a small clothing ministry conducted by the church's College and Careers Sunday school class. The Presbyterians had a coat ministry. Shepherd Care has continued since, and now Angel Food Ministry has been added to meet another need in the county.

Trail said that he has enjoyed working with the wonderful group of ministers in the Ministerial Alliance, and he has also enjoyed participating in other community service groups. While here, Trail has served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce board, member of the Kiwanis Club, of which he is past treasurer, and the BRAD board.

Trail was also appointed to serve on the board of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council and has served as moderator of the Social Band Association of Free Will Baptists, a group of some 25 churches in Northeast Arkansas.

The Trails have two children. Their son, Michael, and his wife, Lynette, live in Rector, where he is deputy prosecuting attorney for Clay County. Lynette teaches preschool for three-year-olds in Corning.

Their daughter, Christi, spent her last year of high school here and graduated from WRHS. She is married to Toby Spradlin, son of Terry and Glenda Spradlin of Walnut Ridge.

Toby and Christi live in Nashville, Tenn., where Christi teaches first grade at Davidson Christian Academy, and Toby is completing a degree in youth ministry from Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville.

The Trails have five "grand boys," Tabor and Maddox Trail and Chase, Chandler and Cooper Spradlin.

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