Pastoring a community… Hyman adds spice to life in Collinsville
REASON FOR THE SEASON Rev. Ennis Hyman arranges the manger scene figures in the sanctuary of Collinsville First Church of God. Photo by Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Dec. 23, 2001
In a small community, everybody knows everybody else. That's what L. Ennis Hyman likes most about living in Collinsville.
The longtime pastor of Collinsville First Church of God keeps a busy schedule. Not only is he on call 24-hours-a-day at his church, he also works on projects with the community club, does a Bible radio show, and takes great delight aggravating local Auburn football fans.
It's well known in the community that Hyman is a big Alabama Crimson Tide fan. He has an ongoing "feud" with retired Okatibbee Lake manager Bill Pennington, a diehard Auburn fan.
Sometimes it goes a little further than putting up signs. On a year that Auburn won, Pennington planted rye grass and clover in the shape of the final score of the game in Hyman's front yard.
On another year when Auburn won, Pennington had a big sign set up in the back of his truck. Pennington attends the Collinsville Methodist Church, which is right down the street from Hyman's church.
One day, there at a function at the Methodist church. The parking lot was full so Pennington parked in the First Church of God parking lot.
Known as his "community's pastor," Hyman accepted the Lord's calling to become a preacher in 1966 when he was living in Orlando, Fla.
He was working as a meat cutter then, but he knew all about the life of a preacher. His father, Rufus Hyman, was a country preacher who served in small churches for many years.
He moved to Orlando in the early 1960s, and met his wife-to-be, Jan, in a Sunday school class. A couple of years after they were married, Hyman kept feeling God's call that he go into the ministry.
He attended Gulf Coast Bible College in Houston, Texas, and graduated in 1970. Collinsville First Church of God was his first church. He stayed there four years and then left to pastor churches in Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. In 1986, he came back to Collinsville and hopes to stay there until he retires someday.
No looking back
Hyman said he never regretted his decision. While being a pastor and preaching God's word is serious business, he said it helps to have a sense of humor about things.
When he moved back to Collinsville, he became involved in the Collinsville Community Club. He has served as club president, and was named Man of the Year in 1993.
He's close to the other churches in the community as well. Every fifth Sunday, his church gets together with the Baptist and Methodist churches for a combined service.
Decorating his yard for Christmas is a big thing for his family and the community.
He does a devotional on WOKK every weekday at noon, just before Paul Harvey. And on Sunday mornings, he does a Southern gospel show from 6 a.m.-8 a.m.
The Hymans have two sons, Micah and Toby.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at email@example.com.