A crowd of nearly 200 gathered Sunday for a surprise celebration at Flint Southern Missionary Baptist Church in Calloway County to honor Bro. Glenn E. Cope for his 50 years of work in the Baptist church. Bro. Cope, a native of Marshall County, surrendered to preach in August 1964, and since that time, his work in the ministry has touched countless lives.
A member of New Hope Baptist Church near Calvert City during his youth, Bro. Cope surrendered the call to preach at a revival at age 23. “I knew there was something that the Lord wanted me to do, but I just didn’t know what it was,” Bro. Cope recalled. “I had tried teaching Sunday School and being Sunday School Superintendent, but I kept having a feeling that the Lord wanted me to do more. I finally surrendered myself and I have been preaching ever since.”
“I had no idea he was going to surrender himself over to preaching,” recalled Bro. Cope’s wife, Mae. “When they called for invitation at the end of the service, he went up to the front of the church and turned himself over,” Mae recalled. Bro. Cope and his wife, the former Mae Grogan of Hardin, have been married since May 1962.
Bro. Cope recalled the nervousness he felt preparing for his first sermon. “My first sermon I was quite nervous,” Bro Cope said. “I worked and worked on a sermon all week long, but when Sunday came around, I got up in the pulpit and the Lord had me preach on something totally different. He just took over,” Bro. Cope recalled.
By October 1965, Bro. Cope became licensed and ordained and was called to pastor his first church, Ledbetter Baptist Church in Calloway County. “When I started it was a small church with only 25 regular attendees,” Bro. Cope recalled. “We built a new church while I was there and the membership grew to around 70 regular attendees,” he said.
Known for his playful and cut up sense of humor, Bro. Cope is a natural people person and says he enjoys most the fellowship that goes along with being a pastor. “I really enjoy the time spent with the people. I tried to retire back in 2009, but found out real quick that I missed the fellowship,” Bro. Cope said.
Bro. Cope has officiated countless weddings, funerals, and baptisms throughout the years and also served as Moderator of the Blood River Baptist Association from 1994 to 1995. Additionally, he graduated from Mid Continent University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in the Bible.
Throughout his career, Bro. Cope was called to lead seven churches: Ledbetter Baptist, 1965-1970; Sugar Creek Baptist in Calloway County, 1970-1972; Dexter Baptist in Calloway County, 1972-1976; New Hope Baptist in Graves County, 1976-1986 and 2001-2009; Cherry Hill Baptist in Muhlenberg County, 1986 -1989; Hamlet Baptist Church in Marshall County, 1989-2001; and Flint Baptist Church where he currently pastors. Representatives from all churches with the exception of Cherry Hill Baptist were present at Sunday’s celebration.
Countless friends and family members were in attendance including Bro. Glenn and Mae Cope’s three children: Tommy Cope of Hardin, David Cope of Mayfield, and Donna Edging of Paducah; and their six grandchildren: Lexie Lamb, Barrett Cope, Dustin Cope, Leah Cope, Kimberlynn Richardson and Katelyn Richardson. All of Bro. Cope’s four siblings, Jimmy Cope, Rebecca Yeckering, Carolyn Park and Kenny Cope, were present as well.
During Sunday’s celebration, guests ate dinner, reminisced and thanked Bro. Glenn and his wife, Mae, for their half century of service. Following the congregational singing of Bro. Cope’s favorite hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” the service was opened by Bro. Bill Miller who read a biography of Bro. Cope’s life before members of the church presented Bro. Cope and Mae with a $500 check to show their appreciation for their service to the church.
Christina Peterson, Field Representative for United States Senator Rand Paul presented Bro. Cope with an American flag that had been flown over the United States Capitol. “I am honored to be here and am honored to present this flag to you for your unwavering service,” Peterson said to Bro. Cope.
Bro. Cope was presented an appreciation plaque and Kentucky Colonel Commission from Governor Steve Beshear by Marshall County Judge/Executive Mike Miller. “I have known Glenn and Mae for a very long time and I first heard Glenn preach at Hardin Baptist Church back when he was starting out,” Judge Miller said. “I consider it an honor to call both Glenn and Mae my friends and proud to be here to help them celebrate this wonderful occasion,” Judge Miller said.
Mae was also given special recognition for her service to the ministry. “It takes a special woman to be a pastor’s wife and Miss Mae certainly is a special woman,” said Bro. Bill Miller. “Mae has been right beside Glenn during all these 50 years and it’s only fitting she be recognized for her Christian service as well,” said Judge Miller as he presented her with a quilt made by volunteers at the South Marshall Senior Citizens Center in Hardin.
At the conclusion of the service, Bro. Cope expressed his love and appreciation to everyone in attendance. “I really appreciate all of this,” Cope emotionally told the crowd as he fought back tears of gratitude, “But I don’t deserve any of it,” he humbly concluded, “God deserves all the glory.”