Tribute To A Family Friend

Learned tonight that a lifelong friend of our family has passed away. Joe was at every get-together (Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, etc.) we had on Mom's side for as long as I can remember. In addition to his job working for the highway road crew, Joe also labored on the farm and milked cows for my Aunt Pearl & Cousin Charles Lee. He mowed the yard for my great-grandmother, Bessie Ashbaugh (Granny), Aunt Pearl's sister, for decades. He would fix things around the house for her, never taking a dime, though she offered to pay him many times. Joe brought Granny Kentucky Fried Chicken every Saturday. Whenever Granny cooked, she always cooked enough for him. He brought her mail in every day and would fuss at her when she got it herself. He often took Granny and Aunt Pearl to the beauty parlor and grocery store in what must have appeared to outsiders as a modern-day Driving Miss Daisy arrangement. He usually drove a Cadillac because that was his favorite car. Joe could frequently be found hanging around High Grove Grocery because of his love of people. He would carry grocery bags for folks, calling them by name. He used to give my little sister quarters just because he knew she hated holding change (the germs freaked her out). He would regularly sit out in the barn with my cousin & a group of men that would gather around from the different farms & shoot the breeze. I called them the world-problem solvers. Watching him try to work an iPhone he purchased a couple of years back was an experience as I attempted to show him how to use it. He was always amazed when someone showed him or told him something new. He just had a natural curiosity about him, coupled with a generous spirit. His surname was Goldring, but it might as well have been Goldheart. Though not related to any of us genetically or by marriage, he was as much a part of our family as anyone. In fact, Granny’s children, Betty & Patsy (my grandmother and aunt), referred to him as “brother." Granny often remarked that Joe was as good to her as a son would have been. In a world often torn apart by racial & ethnic divisions, Joe's love for us and ours for him represented what humanity can be, what the Apostle Paul describes in Galatians 3:28: there is neither black nor white, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, but you are all one in Christ Jesus. I can't imagine not having you around in this life. Rest in peace, my friend.

Barry E. Fields

All Things New is the preaching and teaching ministry of Barry E. Fields, pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church, a regional congregation on the Ohio River with two campuses in Kentucky (Hawesville) & Indiana (Crossroads Tell City) and membership in five counties.

Originally from Bowling Green, he grew up at Glendale Baptist Church under the ministry of Pastor Richard Oldham, competed for Western Kentucky University's nationally recognized speech and debate team before receiving a B.A. in History in 2007, completed an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 2010, a Th.M. in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Homiletics and Church History at Southern, serving as Garrett Fellow to Dr. Hershael York from July 2012-December 2014. He has also taught theology and church history as an adjunct instructor for Campbellsville University. Before coming to his present ministry, he was pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo, Kentucky, for almost 5 years.

Active in denominational life, Barry currently serves on the Southern Baptist Convention's Young Leaders Advisory Council, a small group of pastors and ministry leaders seeking to engage the next generation in cooperative missions and ministry; recently completed a term on the SBC's Committee on Committees; currently represents the Blackford Breckinridge Baptist Association on the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Executive Mission Board; and has served on the KBC's Committee on Nominations, as well as several associational roles.

In his free time, he enjoys reading history and politics, listening to WKYU's Barren River Breakdown (Bluegrass and folk music) along with a variety of podcasts, as well as watching historical and political documentaries and the Andy Griffith show. Barry has a desire to help people fulfill the Great Commission through the Great Commandments: by showing the love of Christ, we can better share the love of Christ, and make disciples of all nations. And just so you know, he bleeds BLUE (UK Basketball)!