By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
TAYLOR, Mo. -- It's now an "unofficial official" tradition this time of the year at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church.
Mt. Olivet, which sits near the 18 Wheeler Restaurant on Mo. 6, will be hosting another outdoor concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, featuring the famous Gospel sounds of the Blackwood Quartet. The Blackwoods are stopping at Mt. Olivet in between dates in Knoxville, Iowa, and Memphis, Tenn.
"We did one of these last year and it worked out pretty well," said the Rev. Steve Martin, who pastors United Methodist churches in LaGrange, Durham and Mt. Olivet. "We had about 140 people in attendance last year. We'd like to see 200 to 250 this time."
Those attending will listen to an evening of music "on top of the hill, just up from the 18 Wheeler," according to Dana Reid, an administrative assistant at Mt. Olivet. Admission is $10.
"Bring your lawn chairs for a concert under the stars," she said.
The Blackwoods, who in some form date to 1934, have performed with many big-name Gospel and country stars down through the years, including Willie Nelson, Barbara Mandrell, Johnny Cash and the Billy Graham crusades.
Martin said a concert such as this is partly due to the cooperation between the "charge" of churches he pastors. "Charge" is a Methodist term for "group" and is normally applied to multiple, smaller churches working together in a rural setting.
"The churches work together in an effort to have full-time personnel for their ministries," Martin said.
Martin, who is in his sixth year as pastor of the Mt. Olivet-Durham-LaGrange charge, delivers three sermons each Sunday morning. He preaches at 8:30 in LaGrange, 9:45 in Durham and 11 in Mt. Olivet.
Martin says what he does is similar to what a pastor at a singular large church may do on a weekend when he preaches "three or four sermons" at different times (and possibly on different days).
"Except that I do it in different towns," Martin said.
For Martin, what might be considered an unusual schedule to some, is no big deal.
"I grew up in a rural area," he said. "I already knew about this (way of life)."