Tupper welcomes circuit rider to brown bag

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

At noon on Thursday, Circuit Rider Ed Shirley will gallop into the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge on his steed, Butterscotch, and will he have stories to tell.

Shirley will take a few minutes off the circuit to visit with those in attendance at Tupper’s Brown Bag lunch event at high noon.

In Shirley’s portrayal as a circuit rider or saddle preacher, he will share stories of the Methodist preachers who, in the1800s, traveled by horseback throughout the countryside to help spread the word of God.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Shirley said, because of the distance between churches, the circuit riders traveled on horseback. For that reason, they were often called saddlebag preachers.

“The circuit riders traveled through wilderness and villages,” Shirley said. “They preached every day and anywhere they could find a willing audience – at courthouses, on street corners, in meeting houses, out in fields and even in homesteads.”
Sometimes, it would take five or six weeks for a preacher to cover his circuit. His ride was often lonely and dangerous.

Shirley will share stories of the joys and perils of the Methodist circuit riders. He will play the music they shared, sing their songs of faith and pray the words that kept them strong as they journeyed on their way.

Theresa Trawick, Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library director, said Shirley has pastored Brundidge United Methodist Church since July 2013.

“Rev. Ed is a very familiar face in Pike County,” Trawick said. “He is a talented musician and impersonator and entertains at different venues in and around the county. We are excited to have him at our Brown Bag lunch at noon on Thursday. It will be a very entertaining way to spend the noon hour. We invite everyone to join us.”

The Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library is located on South Main Street in downtown Brundidge. The library is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.