By Rev. Buddy Smith
“My visit to Mississippi was one to remember. They welcomed me with open hearts and minds and made me feel like I was one of them. I left Mississippi many years ago but my heart is still there. These are the most loving, caring, friendly people you would ever want to meet. They love their God, their families, and their country. They, like me, grieve over what has happened to our once-great nation.” Terry Blackwood
The sanctuary of Ackerman Baptist Church was almost at capacity with joyous saints on June 2 to welcome home Choctaw County native and Grammy-nominated Terry Blackwood. Callie Paxton of WCBI TV reported, “Terry Blackwood returned home to give a concert at Ackerman Baptist Church. For the people of Ackerman, the tunes of Terry Blackwood sound like home. Blackwood’s family has a rich musical history. The Blackwood Brother’s Quartet began in the 1930s and younger generations of the Blackwood clan keep the group alive today. Their sounds can be recognized by audiences worldwide.”
Joyful Noise Quartet hosted the homecoming for Terry at Ackerman Baptist Church with wide support by area churches. The evening began with a video greeting from Grammy and Dove Award winning Gospel artist Bill Gaither who welcomed the crowd, acknowledging the profound influence of The Blackwood Brothers of Choctaw County and citing Terry Blackwood as “one of my favorite singers.” Joyful Noise Quartet opened with a few songs that included a heart-felt anthem to the veterans in attendance. Then the homecoming began. Terry Blackwood, accompanied by 40-plus voices that comprised a community choir, pointed our focus heavenward toward “A Glad Reunion Day.” The classic old song reminds us of the blessed hope of the Gospel in these lines, “There will be a happy meeting in Heaven, I know. When we see the many loved ones we’ve known here below. Gathered on that blessed hilltop with hearts all aglow. That will be a glad reunion day. A glad day, a wonderful day. A glad day, a glorious day. There with all the holy angels and loved ones to stay. That will be a glad reunion day.”
Terry’s powerful personal testimony of the life-changing Gospel, interwoven with his anointed vocals, carried the audience to expressive heights of joy. From his rousing rendition of “So High” to the powerful classic hymn “Jesus Paid It All,” all in attendance were drawn to the manifest presence of God.
Terry’s reflections on his Ackerman Homecoming included the following, “Today is one of those days I will remember for a long time. Ackerman Mississippi treated me like loyalty today. I want to thank my sweet cousin, Madeline Wood, for helping make this a great day. She has influenced so many people through her faithfulness to God. I love Mississippi! They proved to me today that they are some of the most gracious people in America.”
Ackerman Mayor Dick Cain presented Terry with a proclamation declaring June 2 “Terry Blackwood Day!” State Representative Joey Hood presented him with a plaque and declaration signed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Phillip Gunn along with State Senator Gary Jackson. The Mississippi House of Representatives honored Terry as “a native son, born in Choctaw County and returning home.” United States Congressman Alan Nunnelee sent Terry a letter and certificate recognizing his “contributions to Gospel music and the spread of the Gospel around the world.”
Terry summed up his visit home to Ackerman and Choctaw County in this manner, “Thank you Town of Ackerman and Joyful Noise Quartet for all you did to make this event so momentous for me and my family. I am truly a blessed man!”