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Vol. 15 Issue No. 9 | March 4 - 10, 2009

Remembering Paul Harvey

By Earl and Mary Ann Runte | March 4, 2009

CAVE CREEK – Numerous men and women of national reputation have blessed Cave Creek and Carefree with their presence but few have been more representative of humility and down-home good neighboring than Paul and Angel Harvey.

Paul had a special feeling for the “Little White Church on the Hill above the Car Wash,” First Baptist Church of Cave Creek. While living here and even after moving on to Scottsdale they would occasionally show up at the Church on Sunday morning. They came about 10:15 to have coffee and donuts and chat with the folks in the Fellowship Hall. When the church bell rang for morning service the Harveys would join, usually sitting near the back after asking the Pastor to “please not mention our being here”— they just wanted to enjoy the time of worship and fellowship with their friends and neighbors.

There are a number of accounts that relate Paul to the Little Church on the Hill. Some say this was the Chapel where Paul first acknowledged his faith in Jesus Christ. Some say that he was baptized here but since the church does not have a formal baptistery the First Baptist Church of Sunnyslope claims to be the setting for that commitment by Paul.
Regardless, this man who captured the imagination of millions with his unique reporting of the news and “The Rest of the Story” no doubt had his own thoughts and stories about this little church.

Mary Ann and I have special remembrance of this great man. One Sunday around the Fourth of July we had a special part in the program in honor of our Country. Along with some patriotic music I read a parable accredited to a historian looking at a penny in the year 2075. That coin was a rare one from his collection. The historian wondered what kind of nation the United States was in 1973, the mint date on the coin. The back of the penny was different then. He averred that we must have been an agricultural society – the stems of wheat. A nation concerned about each other – e Pluribus Unum. Metallurgists – the copper coin, and among other things, a religious nation – IN GOD WE TRUST.

Usually the Harvey’s slipped quietly out the side door after joining the congregation for the closing hymn. Typically, they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. They preferred folks congratulate Pastor Dale on his fine message. However that Sunday in July Paul made his way to the front to ask for a copy of the parable. He was really taken by it.

Paul wrote a weekly syndicated column carried by hundreds of newspapers. His column the following week talked about “the little white church on the hill above the car wash.” He talked of the common people who worshiped there and who live in this unique little town. He talked about the little old lady who walked up the hill on a partially paved street to come to worship.

He made special mention of the parable – he printed it and finished with “IN GOD WE
TRUST” and the historians question, “I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED?”

In the weeks that followed many letters came from far and wide wanting to know more about the Little Church. Paul also mentioned the experience on his broadcast. A man in California sent a tape.

I was passing through Cave Creek one day a few weeks later and noticed a Cadillac parked at the church. A couple from Florida had been attending a business conference in Scottsdale. They had read Paul’s column and were shooting a video of the church to take back to their church. Many of their friends had read and heard about the Little Church so asked the folks to report back!

Paul Harvey was awarded many tributes by his peers; even Presidents honored him. A street in the Chicago Loop is named for him. He will be remembered by generations but I somehow feel some of his best memories at the last were of those times he reflected on the fellowship and solitude at the Little Church on the Hill in Cave Creek Arizona.

We will miss you Paul … G o o d (pause) Day!