Mr. Speaker, during Black History Month 2004, I rise today to recognize an outstanding and historic African American ministry and church in my district. It is my distinct pleasure to honor Bishop & Mrs. R.E. Ranger and historic Wayside Church of God In Christ, Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bishop R.E. Ranger served as the legendary Pastor of Wayside Church of God In Christ from January 16, 1930 until January 6, 1992--a period of 62 years of continuous ministry at the same Church location at 2100 Beckham Place, Fort Worth, Texas 76104--and is believed to have served one of the longest tenures as a Pastor of the same church--if not the longest--of any pastor in Fort Worth history and one of the longest continuous pastoral tenures in the State of Texas.
Bishop R.E. Ranger was born on Sunday, January 22, 1899 in the small, southern, rural area of Wilson Creek community, Allenhurst, Texas in Matagorda County and was a serious, disciplined student who became a voracious reader and independent learner who acknowledged the call of God to preach the gospel at age 17 in San Antonio, Texas and continued as a gospel preacher for over 75 years (Diamond Jubilee).
Bishop R.E. Ranger rose from very humble beginnings on his own via early self-education at the St. Mary's Baptist Church using Catholic books and materials and without customary parental support to become an outstanding radio and TV trailblazer and pioneer in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as the nation and with the aid and assistance of radio and TV stations owned by Amon Carter, Jr.--WBAP Radio and WBAP-TV--achieved a number of historic `firsts' in the 1930's, 40's and 50's, including but not limited to: the Founding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ (Southeast) in Texas; a pioneering Pastor and Bishop in the Church of God In Christ in the State of Texas; the first African American appointed a denominational Bishop in Fort Worth History; the first African American minister in America to receive `national' radio air time; the first African American minister in the South to have a national radio ministry in the early 1930's; first African American minister south of the Mason/Dixon line to have weekly broadcasts short waved to many parts of the world--such as Australia, South America and England; and, became internationally known and his homilies were featured on television from such locales as Piccadilly Square in London and Honolulu, Hawaii; first African American minister in America to be seen in a ``live'' television worship service from a church auditorium; featured in June 1949 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the ``Outstanding Black Ministers on Radio''; and a survey revealed his WBAP radio audience to be about six (6) million at its peak.
Bishop R.E. Ranger was the historic minister of the Wayside Church of God In Christ. In 1944, he personally drew up the blueprints for the current Wayside Church after receiving a God-given vision of a new, brick church in the ``shape of a cross'' with a tower. With that vision, he tore down the former church facility--the ``Little Wooden Church on the Hill''--with his own hands.
Bishop R.E. Ranger was a pioneer in the Church of God in Christ in the state of Texas and was appointed Presiding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ (Southeast) by the founder of the Church of God In Christ--Bishop C.H. Mason. He also became an influential state and national religious leader headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bishop R.E. Ranger willingly opened doors for activities for the good of the larger community and provided material and spiritual assistance to countless numbers of people in need. As a member of the NAACP and the Interdenominational Minesterial Alliance, he was actively involved in religious, civic, and educational activities and the struggle for human rights.
Mrs. Blanche Mae Ranger was born March 20, 1904 in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the City of Houston's Normal and Colored High School on June 1, 1922. She also received a teaching degree from the historic Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute on May 22, 1924, during the time of George Washington Carver. Blanche Mae Ranger served with Bishop Ranger at Wayside Church from January 16, 1930 until her passing on October 26, 1985.
Mrs. Blanche Mae Ranger was an exemplary Christian wife, a licensed missionary, musician and singer of the radio/TV ministry theme song--``The Old Ship of Zion'', homemaker, mother of eleven (11) children, home economics teacher, poll tax collector and civic worker of Fort Worth, Texas. She reared and supported the education of a host of children and grandchildren who studied at and received numerous college and postgraduate degrees from institutions such as Huston Tillotson, Wiley College, Hastings Law School (UC), Lincoln University, University of Minnesota, Howard University, Howard University Law School, Lane College, University of Texas, Rutgers Law School, Morehouse College, Bowdoin College, Harvard Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Oberlin College, MIT, Stanford, Boston University, Perdue University, Northwestern University, United States Air Force Academy, Loyola Marymont University, and University of Virginia.
I am very proud of the achievements of Bishop and Mrs. R.E. Ranger and historic Wayside Church. Thanks to their significant achievements, Bishop and Mrs. R.E. Ranger and Wayside Church were symbols of selfless service and achievement for African American citizens in our community and across this nation.
In recognition of its historic past, Wayside Church is currently in the process of receiving an official designation as a Cultural and Historical Landmark of the City of Fort Worth and is being considered for a Texas Historical Landmark designation and the National Register of Historic Places.
Wayside Church of God In Christ, Inc., congratulations on 92 years (1912-2004) of outstanding local, state, and national service!
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