“Ted and Donna Braun’s 60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Held Aug. 8, 2013, Uplands Village,

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“Ted and Donna Braun’s 60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Held Aug. 8, 2013, Uplands Village, Pleasant Hill, TN,” by Franklin and Betty J. Parker, bfparker@frontiernet.net

Betty Parker remembering Ted and Donna Braun as neighbors:

Living with Donna Braun in the house Ted Braun’s parents built, Ted ten years ago  (2003) became our Heritage neighborhood representative to the Uplands Assembly.  Always busy, Ted, with Donna’s help, found time to be a distinguished neighborhood spokesman.  Grandview, Church, and Heritage were one neighborhood then.  Several times each year we had a big potluck lunch in Heritage Hall.  Donna brought large sturdy casseroles to make sure we had enough food.  Whatever the program, Ted always began with some humor  to “warm us up.”

Ted as our neighborhood “rep” delivered the By-Lines to each front door and rang the door bell.  He made certain we knew  he was available if needed.  Most important, Ted, seeing our then unpaved rocky roads, went to the Town Council and mayor and urged paving our streets.  A great improvement!

Donna’s flower garden brightened our spirits especially in springtime. She planted countless spring bulbs, arranging them from early blooming to late blooming to assure flowers throughout the spring.  Wherever music was performed, Donna could be found.  She helped found our local Ensemble (orchestra), sang in the church choir, played hand-bells, and most of all touched our hearts and souls playing the cello her family bought for her when she was a child.

All the while Ted was organizing Cuba seminars, founding and leading the Shalom Center, writing Crossville (TN) Chronicle “Lion and Lamb” columns, leading church book discussions, and going every two years to United Church of Christ (UCC) Synod to produce during Synod for delivery to all attending Balaam’s Courier commenting on Synod issues—a very demanding and informative task.

Donna and Ted, who remember when all of the Heritage neighborhood was a cornfield, have always been grand neighbors.  END.


Franklin Parker below,  connecting Ted and Donna Braun to a true tale of two cities in a time of national crisis sparked by the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs Board of Education public school desegregation decision.   This is the true tale of  early defining moments of two young pastors, about the same age, mid-20s, in their first pastorates, about the same time, 1955 and 1956, in an explosive U.S. South.  Each faced and stood up to key contentious challenges; each  became prophets of their time.

True tale of first city:  late 1955,  Montgomery, AL.  African-American seamstress Rosa Parks  arrested, jailed, refused to give up her seat to a white person entering a full segregated bus.  Local NAACP leaders paid her bail.   On the day of her court arraignment, to protest her arrest and jail humiliation, black leaders held a hastily organized one-day peaceful Montgomery, Ala bus boycott.

African-Americans walked to work or were carpooled to work, often by helpful whites.  No one was hurt.  White bus company owners lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Needing direction local NAACP leaders considered what to do next.  They decided to hold a next-step mass meeting at a big black church.   Pondering on who might best speak to galvanize their cause, their choice narrowed to an unaligned then newcomer preacher to Montgomery, young 26 years old, Atlanta-born, Northern educated, little known but already respected, concerned Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dusk, Dec. 6, 1955, 57 years ago, hesitant, with little time to prepare, before a jam-packed church, with loudspeakers outside for massed listeners, Martin Luther King, Jr., that night found his calling.  His impromptu, ringing speech became the first defining moment of his new church ministry.   He mesmerized that audience, lit a flame of freedom for his people, lifted oppressed people everywhere.  His short speech that Dec. 6, 1955 night shook the church rafters, desegregated Montgomery buses and made him a Prophet of his Time.  (see 7. Parker, Franklin, Reference below for URL access to gist of MLK, Jr.’s Dec. 6, 1955, speech).

A year later, 1956, true tale of second city, Henderson, KY, in a border area between Northern, mostly liberal public school desegregation supporters—and, below the Mason-Dixon line—rigid Southern resistance to public school desegregation, its power structure largely dominated by determined, threatening, violent KKK  and White Citizen Council diehards.

Although Henderson, KY was tense about school desegregation, it remained relatively peaceful—while,  two nearby KY cities some 30 miles away, Clay, KY and  Sturgis, KY, experienced mob violence against public school integration.  The Governor felt forced to call the National Guard to protect African-American students.

Henderson, KY, city and county, were relatively safe from violence and relatively peaceful because of two Henderson ministers: much older (in his mid-60s)  Presbyterian Pastor C. S. Logan, and young, age 28 or so,  new Pastor Ted Braun, in his very first pastorate.

With Ted Braun’s permission, and through Pleasant Hill UCC Church interviewer Al Dwenger’s help (he is also currently Pleasant Hill’s Mayor),  I pass on Ted Braun’s own account of how he and Pastor Logan kept Henderson, KY public school desegregation peaceful amid nearby white mob violence.

Ted Braun:  “In my first pastorate in Henderson, KY, in 1956 Pastor C.S. Logan and I had leadership roles in the Henderson County Ministerial Association.  We first integrated our ministers’ group, then the public library, then the barber shops.  We then took on the White Citizens Council which had boycotted Henderson’s one elementary school that had integrated its first three grades.  Each time the White Citizens Council held a rally in town to close down the school, we called school parents supporting integration to a church meeting  for sharing and mutual support.

“As a result, we became the first town in the South in 1956 to defeat a powerful White Citizens Council.  The Henderson story was later written up in the Christian Century and highlighted in an NBC Today program.  My life journey has presented additional opportunities and challenges along each step of the way.” End Quote.

Henderson, KY, was young Ted Braun’s first defining ministerial moment.  It was and has been part his life’s quest before and after Henderson, KY,  to continue his father’s, grandfather’s (both minister),  and medical missionary brother Dr. Richard Braun’s (deceased 2012)  dedicated mission to improve at home and abroad human equality, justice, peace, and opportunity for all, no exceptions.

Special kudos to Ted’s wife Donna Braun for her courageous support during tempestuous times.  Her loving help and her calm wisdom were essential.

All honor, health, and happiness to Ted and Donna Braun now and in all the years following their 60TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY.

A Ted and Donna Braun Ministerial Chronology:

–Ted graduated from Elmhurst College near Chicago, IL.

–Attended Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

— Earned a Master of Sacred Theology, Yale Divinity School, CT.

–Pastor, Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church, Henderson, KY.

–Campus  Minister, Pennsylvania State University, PA.

–On Staff, Peace Corps Office, National Council of Churches, NYC, NY.

–Secretary, Interpretations and Publications, United Church, Board for World  Ministries

–Pastor, 18 years, Church of the Good Shepherd, Carbondale, IL

-Awarded in 1977 the Doctor of Divinity degree from Eden Theology Seminary in recognition of his many distinguished services.

–Ted Braun’s Cuba interest, sparked by his first educational trip there in 1975, led to 40 other visits, most of them leading UCC –sponsored church related study groups.

Writings By and About Rev. Dr.  Theodore A. Braun (1927-):

1.  Braun, Theodore A., ed. (with others), Balaam’s Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Balaams-Unofficial-Handbook-United-Church/dp/0829817972

or: http://tinyurl.com/mxtxvd9

2.  __________.  Perspectives on Cuba and its People.   Friendship Press, 1999.  See: http://www.amazon.com/Perspectives-Cuba-People-Theodore-Braun/dp/0377003263

or: http://tinyurl.com/ny6ptmu

3.  _________ .  “Justice is Not Impartial.  UCC Justice Ministries Respond to Domestic and Global Needs.”  Ted Braun’s expanded essay appeared in a commemorative book: UCC @ 50—Our History, Our Future.  (Excellent background and guide to UCC’s ‘fully inclusive’ membership policy).   See: http://www.ucc.org/50/pdfs/braun.pdf

4.  __________.  For Ted Braun’s many published  “Lion and the Lamb” articles in the Crossville Chronicle (Crossville, TN), sponsored by the Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice, go to: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=google.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=241a68ff0ffb6e40&psj=1&q=lion+and+the+lamb%2C+Crossville%2C+TN+Chronicle&rls=en        or:  http://preview.tinyurl.com/l4elh8j

5.   “Calm of the Tornado: C. Sumpter Logan, Theodore A. Braun, and School Desegregation in Henderson, Kentucky.”  David Lai Paper Submitted for History 700: America Since 1865 Professor Ronald D Eller May 2013, University of Kentucky History Department.   See PDF paper: http://www.zionucchenderson.com/media/DIR_39101/a52590f319a78bb4ffff80c5ffffe415.pdf

Or:  http://preview.tinyurl.com/mcw8b5e

6.  Golder, W. Evan.  “UCC Visitors to Cuba Urge Lifting of U.S. Embargo,” see: http://www.ucc.org/ucnews/jul04/ucc-visitors-to-cuba-urge-lift.html     or: http://tinyurl.com/l5mx699

7. Parker, Franklin.  For his Martin Luther King, Jr.-related articles, see: http://bfparker.hubpages.com/hub/Martin-Luther-King–Jr–Prophet-in-the-Making

Or: http://preview.tinyurl.com/l59kwrm

And: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ET6uWKyi6kfIFEphIsVmnp9_Uh8tWqGeW1jm1gxwBO0/edit

And: http://bfparker.hubpages.com/hub/Myles-Horton-1905-90–Educator-and-Social-Activist-of-Highlander-Adult-Education-Center–Tennessee-With-Addendum


8.  Ralston, Rebecca Braun.  “Carol—A Song of Joy; A Story of School Segregation in the South.” Typed article with photos by one of Ted Braun’s  3 daughters.  Contact:


9. For additional information/news of Rev. Theodore A. Braun, contact: http://www.ucc.org/

and:    jeanclark@frontiernet.net     whose weekly “Pleasant Hill Ramblings,”  Crossville Chronicle (TN) often reports on important Ted Braun activities.

See: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=google.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=241a68ff0ffb6e40&psj=1&q=jean+clark+pleasant+hill+ramblings+crossville+chronicle&rls=en

Or: http://tinyurl.com/mwghev4

Addendum about the authors:

We are Jumpingfor joy

About the Parkers: bfparker@frontiernet.net

Franklin Parker and Betty J. Parker

P.O. Box 406

Pleasant Hill, TN 39578

E-mail:  bfparker@frontiernet.net

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For a funny skit on our 61st wedding anniversary, access:


For a Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 2012,  version of above funny skit, access:


End.  Send corrections, comments to:  bfparker@frontiernet.net


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