A union of love for God and a union of a husband and his wife have stretched over 50 years as a local couple have served each other and their lord in ministry. Cecil and Barbara Price have just celebrated 50 years of marriage and a half century in the ministry in August. The Rev. Cecil Price is the pastor of Bethesda Assembly of God, located on U.S. 421 North of Clinton where he and his wife have served for the past 14 years.
Cecil Price was born and raised in Duncannon, Pa. and Barbara Price is from McKeesport, Pa. The couple met while attending college at the Eastern Bible Institute which is named Valley Forge Christian College today.
“We attended college back when a couple could only see each other for an hour and could not have any other contact, not even speak to one another. They were very strict on couples. We did break some traditions and set some new ones,” asserted the minister. He even had to go the college president to request permission to ask Barbara to marry him, and then again he had to request permission to marry her before they could get married.
“One of the professors on the committee that decided our fate said it would never last because it was a whirlwind courtship. I guess he was wrong,” stated Cecil Price.
“We have had several churches over the 50 years we have been in ministry together. Some churches were better than others but they all gave us an opportunity to serve God and to witness to others,” expressed Barbara Price.
The couple readily admits that they are a team. They work together in the various ministry fields where they have traveled, starting at a small church named El Shadai Assembly of God in Nazareth, Pa. “Our first church was a very small church. About nine members,” explained Cecil Price. “We just visited them last weekend and they have grown into a church with about 175 members. They are doing great work for the Lord,” added the pastor. Barbara Price shared that El Shadai was in a school building and sported an outhouse. It was a bit of a challenge for them because the church was 40 miles from where they lived.
“It was kind of difficult at times. We would go up on Sundays and stay all day. Sometimes Barbara would bring her electric skillet and cook for us and later people would invite us to eat with them. We would also come on Wednesdays but for only the evening services. We even came once during bad weather only to discover there was no one there due to the conditions. But we have fond memories to those we were able to bring to Christ while there,” remarked Cecil Price.
The couple had to work to support themselves as most of the churches they were serving did not have the means to support a minister. “Being bi-vocational, however, has opened many doors for us to minister outside the walls of the church. Many times during our outside work, we have been able to witness to others and bring them into a living relationship with Christ. God works in many different ways. No just within the walls of his church,” expressed Cecil Price.
The Prices were a tEl Shadai from 1961 through 1968. Then they moved to Mill City Assembly of God. After about three years, the couple moved on to the Full Gospel Assembly of God in Livingstone, N.J. They were there for only a year before moving back to Bentleyville, Pa. “It was coal mining country and we were led to go there by God. Everywhere we were called was for a reason. God’s hand was in it,” shared the pastor. The Prices served Bentleyville Assembly of God Tabernacle from 1971 to 1978.
After a brief respite, Cecil Price was led to the Elwood City Assembly of God in Elwood City, Pa. They remained there for nearly five years.
The next field of service was at the Pentecostal Tabernacle Assembly of God in Central City, Pa. The Prices were there for just over a year.
“We were there for a short time but there was a reason we were called there. His name was Joe. Because of our ministry there, he was able to turn his life around and accept Christ. Two months after we left, he dropped dead. What would have happened if we had not answered God’s call,” asserted Barbara Price.
The couple left in the summer of 1985 to enter seminary. Cecil Price attended and earned his masters degree from the Assembly of God Theological Seminary located in Springfield, Mo. They were there from 1985 through 1987. While in school Price served a small church in Seymour, Mo. for about six months until he convinced the church leaders that someone needed to be at the church that could live there and they did. He was having to travel 40 miles one way to serve the church.
Following seminary, the couple and their family moved to Kennett, Mo. to serve Calvary Assembly of God for two years.
The Prices moved to North Carolina 21 years ago to teach at the Wanchese Christian Academy. Cecil, Barbara and their son Mark were all teachers at the academy. The pastor then moved to Askerville to become the principal of Bethel Assembly Christian School where he served from 1992 through 1994. In 1994 the family relocated to New Hope Christian School in Wallace where he served until 1997. Barbara Price began working as an activities director for what is now known as Kenansville Health and Rehab. She also became a notary and works as a signing agent for loans. It was while at New Hope that Cecil Price was asked to come supply for Bethesda. “That was the second Sunday in October of 1997. Four weeks later they voted me in as their full time pastor. That was 14 years ago,” shared the minister. “The lord still has stuff to do here,” added Price.
“We have been here longer than anywhere we have served in our ministry. We truly love it here. We finally have the opportunity to own our own home. Clinton is a lovely place and our ministry has been richly blessed here,” expressed the pastor.
The couple, now 70 and 71, still work part time as vendors, Cecil Price for Anderson Merchandise and Barbara Price with Hallmark responsible for Walmart here in Clinton. Barbara Price still travels with her closings also.
As husband and wife for 50 years, the couple admits that they were first friends and then learned early that it was “not about me.” “Our love grows stronger day by day. We still hold hands and enjoy each other’s company. The lord has blessed in marriage and in our ministry together,” expressed Cecil Price as he concluded his remarks.
As a couple over the years they have sung together and most recently they have started singing with one of their granddaughters, Ashley, in a group they call “Priceless.” They have four grown children, two boys and two girls. One of the daughters lives with the couple and the other daughter lives in Clinton with her family. One son lives in River Landing, Pa. and the other lives in Missouri.