Faith, laughter fill the Cole

The Hoppers, The Isaacs featured in 360 Series

By Kevin Spradlin

* Hope for common ground

HAMLET — “Having a GREAT time at the Good News Christian Bookstore! Better hurry and get your tickets, very few left!

Both the claim and suggestion were made on The Hoppers’ Twitter feed. They weren’t kidding around. Nearly every seat was sold for the 360 Community Series on Saturday night at the Robert L. and Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium on the campus of Richmond Community College in Hamlet.

Kevin Spradlin | The Hoppers' rendition of "God Bless the U.S.A." brought the crowd to its feet.

Kevin Spradlin |
The Hoppers’ rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.” brought the crowd to its feet.

The four-hour affair featured two award-winning Southern Gospel Music families in The Hoppers and The Isaacs. It was one part faith, one part personal, another part patriotism and, yes, one part humor.

God, Claude Hopper said in between numbers, “changed my life” when Hopper accepted him into his life as a teenager. The Rockingham County native said his savior is “never on vacation … he’s just a breath away.”

“I’m proud to know Him,” Hopper continued. “I’m proud to be here. When you get my age, you’re proud to be anywhere.”

Hopper recalled his roots; born in a log cabin, he was on of 11 children “born in that room — not on the same night.”

Kim Hopper, too, connected with the audience and expressed her appreciate for caregivers. The Summerfield resident said her mother fell ill with pancreatitis at the age of 67. The two are close, she said.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

“She helped me at home a lot,” Hopper said.

While on tour, Hopper took a phone call. Her mother was sick. Very sick. She was to be rushed to a hospital two hours away.

“I found out later they didn’t think she’d make it to the hospital,” Hopper shared.

Her kidneys shut down for more than seven weeks. She was coded at least once. She was told her mother would have lung damage, heart damage and brain damage. Hopper said she was advised to “just get prepared” for what seemed to be inevitable.

But the family prayed. Her mom rebounded, and was discharged from the hospital into a nursing home in December. Nearly a month ago, she moved into Hopper’s home. As for the damage to her heart, lungs or brain, “she has none of that.”

“We take care of her,” Hopper said. “It’s a full-time job. It’s like having a newborn all over again.”

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

One night while Hopper was succumbing to the stress of being a caregiver, she prayed with her daughter on the phone. Hopper led the prayer, at least at first. When she thought she was done, her daughter said she had something to do. Then, Hopper said, her daughter thanked God for the roof over her house, a warm bed to sleep in and the food at dinner.

“She put it all in perspective,” Hopper shared with her audience. “I was having a pity party and I forgot to thank Him” for providing what was needed.

Saturday night’s concert was the brainchild of a Rockingham nonprofit called Communities United Outreach. While there are plenty of things Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and people of other religious denominations disagree on. however, wants to focus on the consensus — that, for example, Jesus Christ is savior.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

“We’re trying to play off the things we have in common,” Dixon told The Pee Dee Post in November about the nonprofit, which aims to help churches stage and promote successful outreach events in and around Richmond County. “I’m passionate about that. Our goal is to bring pastors together so that we can bring large events to our county that ordinarily we couldn’t do without teaming up.”

The goal is to raise funds for special needs, such as soup kitchens and the homeless, that most every Christian agrees needs support.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

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