In the early to mid 1980’s, everyone I knew was getting married. The year 1984 was the one where I seemed to spend a lot of time going to weddings.
My cousin Linda Hasty was living in Atlanta, and when I heard she was getting married in the fall, I was not surprised. I knew she had been dating some guy that was studying to be a minister. I don’t think I actually met Bry until the wedding, and of course there was no time to get to know him then. In early 1985, when I was temporarily living in Atlanta while in paralegal school, I spent a delightful evening with Linda and Bry in their little apartment. Bry played the guitar and sang some James Taylor songs, and I remember thinking to myself, OK, this guy’s not so bad…
FYI, in the South, Cousin-in-Law is a legitimate relationship. Bry is my Cousin-in-Law.
Skip ahead, and years have passed, and Linda and Bry are the parents of two children, and Bry gets called to be a pastor at Mars Hill Presbyterian Church in Acworth, which is just north of Atlanta. I attended the day he preached his first sermon there, in 1995. It was a special day for many reasons, including the fact that a lot of Linda’s mother’s family had been attending Mars Hill for years before Bry got there.
I just wish I didn't live so far from Acworth [45 minutes to an hour] so I could hang out with Linda and Bry more often.
Bry is not a loud, in-your-face kind of preacher. He’s a gentleman, in the truest and best sense of the word, and he and Linda have a remarkable partnership. In addition to all his pastoral duties, he likes to play the ukulele for small children, and they adore that.
Oh, and did I mention, he LOVES to play the guitar and sing? He’s a big fan of Jimmy Buffett – only he sings clean versions of Buffett songs in his Buffett tribute band, The Parrot Island Band. Linda learned how to play the steel drums so she could be in the band, too. They are available for parties and events. [Find them on Facebook and hit LIKE if you have a minute.]
Bry doesn’t just play for fun. His music is a natural part of his ministry. He uses the amazing magic of music to reach hearts, and his natural abilities are truly a gift from God, as you can see here.
I was tickled to interview Bry, and to get his unique and thoughtful responses to my Twenty Questions, especially #19.
- What is your full name? Bryant Harris (friends call me Bry)
- Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world? Near a beach somewhere.
- What is your favorite movie and why?I can’t choose just one… the Star Wars movies, Back to the Future series, Tin Cup. Movies that connect me to my youth, make me laugh… a recent one that I really like… Now You See Me, I went twice because it made me think and had the right amount of suspense.
- What was your least-favorite subject in school when you were a kid?I disliked them all equally… only liked recess , study hall and PE… [FYI, Bry has a Ph.D.]
- What was your nickname when you were a kid? Didn’t have one..
- Do you believe in God?Absolutely!
- What sound or noise do you love?The sound of ocean waves crashing into the shore.
- If you could do anything other than what you do, as a profession, what would it be?A musician… playing ukulele for anyone who would listen.
- If heaven exists, what do you think it is like?I know I should have a better answer but I can’t even imagine… I think it will be more than I could ever dream… I hope I will recognize those I love (and that I won’t run into those I don’t;-)
- Do you have siblings?I am an only child.
- What is your favorite memory of childhood [something specific]?Going to my grandmother and great grandmother's apartment, playing cards, eating cheese balls, reading the National Inquirer and ending the day watching the Lawrence Welk Show and Hee Haw.
- If you had to choose between one week traveling around the USA by car, or one week traveling around Europe on a train, which would you choose and why?I would travel the USA by car… there is so much of our country I haven’t seen. I would stop at a lot of hole in the wall restaurants looking for great food, nice people and enjoy telling them how good their establishment was.
- What inspires you?People who keep a great attitude despite difficult circumstance, God’s creation, a good walk on the beach (I’m seeing a theme here). People who serve others without recognition…
- Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or July 4th?Probably not a surprise considering I am a pastor, but Christmas as it is the day we celebrate Jesus birth.
- What project or idea are you most passionate about, right now? Taking music (in particular my ukulele) to preschools all the way up to seniors and watching them smile, enjoy the music. Writing songs and sharing them with others.
- Do you know how to cook? I can reheat pizza in the microwave… does that count?
- What is your favorite thing to cook/eat?I like most things that are bad for me… burgers, fries. Mexican food. My wife has begun grilling more at home and I have really enjoyed that (and a little more healthy?)
- What is your favorite book? The Bible… really :-)
- Who do you love the most in the world?My wonderful wife and best friend, Linda.
- What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wanted to answer? Jimmy Buffett called and want to know if you would play the band for a few days? Answer- Yes!