Christian Fellowship celebrates founder’s impact

A local church established almost 50 years ago is celebrating its founder.

J.T. Parish founded Christian Fellowship church in Marshall County. Sunday his congregation gathered to celebrate his 80th birthday along with his wife’s. Their birthdays are four days and one year apart.

Parish says he didn’t expect the church to grow to the close to 1000 members it has today or have a school of its size.

"When I look back, I can’t take any credit for anything, I was just here. I was just glad to be in on it. I mean there is a God, and he’s good," Parish said.

In 1969, Parish gave a 10 day evangelical revival in a tent and by the end of it people wanted a church. Three years later he moved his congregation of 12 from a basement to an a-frame building along U.S. 68 that’s still used today.

"We started with nothing," Parish said.

Growing in size, the church needed to expand to another building by 1975. In 1984, they added a k-12 school, and last year they added a new building for their elementary school students.

"This is just little by little, it’s accumulated, and we started a school in 84 and it’s an excellent school," Parish said.

Parish is about to complete 60 years of ministry work. His parishioners wanted to thank him by celebrating a milestone that he shares with someone who’s stood by him just as long- his wife Noretta.

“It’s been like our 56th honeymoon. He’s spoiled me real good,” Noretta said.

The couple’s birthdays are four days apart, and for J.T.’s 80th birthday a service dedicated to the two seemed, like the right thing to do.

“We just weren’t expecting anything like this, but it’s really sweet of the people," Noretta said.

This group says it’s a small way to say thank you to a couple who’s impacted them in a big way.

Christian Fellowship also started a world mission and evangelism component to their church in 1988. Parish’s son David leads the church’s foreign outreach which has missionaries in every continent except Antarctica.

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