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Bethune community rallies behind pastor

Posted: January 20, 2011 4:23 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.
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Rev. Allen McClellan

The first thing most people notice about Rev. Allen McClellan is his contagious smile.

“He’s got the best smile,” said Lawann McCoy. “And he shares it often. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a big grin on his face.”

McClellan is the pastor at Bethune Baptist Church, and according to his church family, has made a difference in many lives in the two short years of being the leader of the small country church.

“Whenever anyone in this community needs a hand, Pastor Allen is one of the first to lend a helping hand,” McCoy said.

Recently, McClellan and his family were hit with a hard word to swallow: cancer.

What started in October to appear as an ear infection was soon diagnosed as Melanoma. McClellan went through his first rounds of chemotherapy last week.

As soon as church members and the community found out, a chain reaction began.

“We may be a very small community, but we’ve got big hearts,” Jackie Knight said.

Knight is helping to organize a chicken bog benefit lunch in honor of McClellan.

“This has not only placed an emotional burden, but also a financial burden on this wonderful family. We’re going to do all we can to help,” he said.

Both church members and others in the Bethune community are coming together to help the McClellan family.

The Chicken Bog Benefit lunch will be held Jan. 28 starting at 10 a.m. at the Bethune Woman’s Club. Plates will be sold for $6 and will include chicken bog, slaw, beans, bread and cake. Delivery of the plates is offered for orders of 10 or more.
McClellan’s wife of 31 years, Debbie, said she has been amazed and thankful for the support.

“The cards, the prayers, the food, it all means so much to us. It’s helped more than they will ever know during this difficult time,” she said.

McClellan expressed the same gratitude.

“The Bethune community and the church family have been exceptional,” McClellan said. “I’m very thankful for all the love and compassion they have shown me and my family.”

He added that his faith in God and Debbie are what get him through the during this time.

“I wouldn’t be able to make it without either one if them,” he said.

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