LEE J. EDWARDS
FOURTH DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT OF THE MS DISTRICT
Frank and Clara Edwards lived near Tupelo, Mississippi and welcomed a new arrival of a son, Lee Junior on March 29, 1930.
Most of his early years were spent around Tupelo and Amory where he lived and grew up. His early years were during the great depression and times were hard for him and his family. At an early age he was working in a Stave Mill to help support the family. This factory-made staves for wooden barrels. During his early ministry and while he pastored at Amory, MS he worked in a pants factory.
He received the Holy Ghost at the age of 16 at Richmond, where the late Reverend G. H. Hill was pastor and the late Reverend Jack Raper was assistant pastor. Reverend Gerald Sawyer quoted Reverend Jack Raper, “I had my hands-on Lee J’s head when he got the Holy Ghost.” At the early age of 17, Lee J. felt the call to preach the Gospel. During his early ministry he played the guitar and with his mother they would sing in church services. Before the United Pentecostal Church was formed, he was a licensed minister with the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At a Sunday afternoon prayer meeting in Nettleton, MS, Lee J. met Twiller Faye Bennett. The second time he saw her was at the Richmond Pentecostal Church. The courtship was short and began what would be a union that would last the rest of Lee J’s life. On September 2, 1950, Twiller Faye and Lee Junior were married. This union took place on a Saturday evening just before a church service at the Nettleton Church. The late Walter Cole, Pastor of the Nettleton Church performed the ceremony on a Saturday evening before the church service started. The newlyweds remained there until the service was over. The next morning being Sunday found the newlyweds back in church. During those days even getting married didn’t excuse you from your church obligations. The Edward’s had three sons, David, Joel, and Nathan.
They evangelized until 1952 when he began his many years of Pastoring which included the following locations: Carol Corner, Arkansas six months, Pontotoc 7 years, Amory about one-year, West Corinth Tabernacle 8 ½ years, Brookhaven 3 years, Mount Pisgah-Leakesville 19 months, Greater Life Pentecostal-Corinth about 2 years, and Calvary Evangelism Center-Columbus about one year.
Brother Edwards held various offices in the Mississippi District including: Presbyter of Section one, District Youth Secretary, Editor of the Mississippi News (now known as the Torch), Served on the Board of Corrections under Governor Cliff Finch, and District Superintendent from May 1971-November 1981. While serving as District Superintendent in 1972, a resolution was passed at District Conference to relocate the MS District Headquarters and Campgrounds. Below is a letter dated July 3, 1972 to all the ministers of the MS District United Pentecostal Church written and signed by Lee J. Edwards.
“The purpose of this letter is two-fold: first, I am happy and excited to announce that our District Board has been successful in purchasing seventy-one (71) acres of property on highway 18, seven miles south of Jackson for our District Headquarters and Camp site. Of course, we feel that God has given us great speed in this matter in as much as you passed this resolution only a few weeks ago at our District Conference.”
“Secondly, we want to announce that there will be a special called, closed-door Ministers meeting Tuesday morning July 18, 1972 at 7:30 A. M., at the campground. The purpose of this meeting is that we want to inform each of you concerning what has been done and our future plans for the new camp site. We appreciate each of our ministers in our district and feel that you should have knowledge as to our wonderful progress—Praise God:”
Lee J. Edwards died on December 31, 1989 while preaching a watch night service in Florence, Alabama at the United Pentecostal Church, Pastor L. T. Overton. Reverend Coy Hill stated the last words that Brother Edwards spoke were, “We’re fighting devils, we are fighting demons” …. before he could finish his statement, “we’ll never give up the fight”, his breath left him, and he went to meet the Lord.” The tape of that service went all over the world.
Reverend Coy Hill stated, “Brother Edwards was a visionary and had a talent to see things for what they could be”. Case in point, he was instrumental in his leadership as District Superintendent in relocating the Mississippi District Headquarters and Camp Grounds from Philadelphia to the present location at 10332 Highway 18, Raymond MS.
Brother Edwards used this saying often: “Our district has entered a new dimension. The name Progressive Mississippi District is not just a slogan, but a pure statement of fact.”
Brother and Sister Edwards put their hearts, finance, and much labor into the Mississippi District. The entire Mississippi District is blessed and continues to enjoy the lovely campground located at 10332 Highway 18W, Raymond, Mississippi.