Richard Hyatt: Preaching is a Lord family tradition

March 11, 2014 

Never let it be said that the Lord family lived a routine life.

Michael Lord Sr. was known as the Gospel Elvis, a fiery preacher with a clerical collar and a bright red blazer.

His wife was Pretty Sister Peggy, who was content with playing the piano and avoiding the spotlight her husband dearly loved.

By the age of 7, their oldest son was a traveling, faith-healing evangelist who the world knew as Little Michael.

Their youngest son, Edward, also preached the gospel and he is known as "The Bossman."

Long ago, they adopted the label as the "The First Family of Evangelism," a description they carried from the Main Gate of Fort Benning to the unforgiving streets of inner-city Cleveland.

"I can still sleep better in the backseat of a car than I can a bed," said the Rev. Edward Lord, who lived his childhood out of a suitcase.

The family hit the road after Little Michael -- with a voice that was larger than the tiny tuxedos he wore -- started preaching and healing in churches all over Columbus and Phenix City. By the third-grade, he was featured on network television and in People magazine.

But that was a long time ago.

Michael is no longer little and will turn 47 in a few days. Edward is 44 and still bossy. Pretty Sister Peggy died in 2009 and the self-proclaimed Gospel Elvis passed away on Feb. 23 in Ohio. He was 75 and had been a minister for 60 years.

Surviving members of the Lord family will come back to the area for a memorial for the Rev. Michael Lord Sr. on Saturday, April 5. The 1 p.m. service will be held at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 4400 Old Cusseta Road.

Edward laughed when I reminded him of his father's attachment to Elvis.

"We have a picture of Daddy as Elvis," he said. "Michael was a gangster and I was a cowboy. Mom was just herself."

High-spirited preaching is a family tradition for the Lords.

Michael once rewrote some Hank Williams Jr. lyrics that asked the musical question: "Why do we preach?"

This started with Edward's grandfather. And in the generations that have followed, 27 preachers have represented several denominations. Edward has a church in Warren and Michael pastors one in Lima.

Life has never been dull, Edward admits. Their father was arrested as a protester, spoke on behalf of Lt. William Calley and ran for governor of Ohio.

The boys were born in a pulpit and have never strayed.

They heard the call as children and though baldness is setting in, they still preach.

And Edward says they're not about to stop.

"Michael says we'll preach until we die -- if we live that long."

Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at hyatt31906@knology.net.

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