A husband-and-wife duo has been making music together for more than a quarter century in a partnership and a ministry that has spanned many different churches and journeys of faith.
Ken and Mary Sipley have been serving the Lord and serving churches ever since they said "I do."
Ken Sipley is the pastor of Graceland Christian Church on Stateline Road in Southaven. Mary has served as the pianist at First United Methodist Church in Tunica.
The couple goes where the Spirit of the Lord leads them — literally.
Ken Sipley grew up as the son and nephew of ministers and Mary came from a musical background.
During the past quarter century, Ken has served as the former choir director and minister of music at First Presbyterian Church in Hernando, former instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College and as a student chaplain at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven.
For the past 25 years, the Sipleys have been making music together.
They have now embarked on a musical mission to bring song to music lovers of all ages.
Ken and Mary Sipley, who have traveled the United States in various capacities and in many different churches, live just outside Hernando. Their spacious home is nestled against a gentle sloping hill.
From their cobblestone patio overlooking lush gardens and a large oval lake beyond, the Sipleys share their hopes for the musical concerts which they are staging at Graceland Christian Church.
Rehearsals begin Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the church, located at 2126 Stateline Road in Southaven.
"This will be as electic as we can make it," said Mary Sipley, adding that both secular and sacred music will be performed.
Ken Sipley added the music will be uplifting and fun.
"We'll even have a little doo-wop music and harmony pieces — you know the Duke of Earl?" Sipley said of a popular 50s song. "We want to look at the music of the 50s and 60s."
Sipley said the choir, which contains many seniors, was formed by popular demand.
"We had gotten a call from groups of people wanting a senior citizens choir," explained Sipley.
Sipley helps lead direction of a group of mostly seniors who enjoy line dancing, round dancing.
It gave the Sipleys the idea of forming an intergenerational outreach music ministry.
"We want to get the word out," added mary Sipley. "Everyone is welcome from teenagers on up."
Sipley will give vocal direction.
"The way I work with a choir, we will start with a voice lesson," Sipley said. "Our goal is to provide a service to the community and give people an opportunity to people who like to sing."
Sipley said the Graceland Christian Church sanctuary and fellowship hall lend themselves well to musical performances.
The congregation consists of Disciples of Christ members. The church denomination dates from the late 1800s.
"I decided to change denominations," said Sipley, adding he joined the church after serving as a Presbyterian.
"Mary and I had worked in a Disciples of Christ church in Kentucky," added Sipley. "I decided that I wanted to go back into the Disciple tradition. Wonderful people."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.