Blessed Assurance Ministries was formed during 1996 with founding members Jean & Scott Duckworth and Sharon & Tim Moses. Blessed Assurance Ministries officially announced its call into the ministry during November 1996. Sharon Moses is the person responsible for the name of the group. The ministry feels the call to nursing homes and jails as its main focus, along with other types of singings. Clifford Elkins joined the group in 1997. Scott Duckworth, Tim Moses, and Clifford Elkins are all three licensed ministers, preaching as God gives the opportunity. Two nursing homes become the locations of regular monthly services, NHC Healthcare and Etowah Health Care, each first Saturday of every month.
As Blessed Assurance Ministries was formed with the vision of ministering to hurting and lost people, God gave us two verses from the Bible which were the basis of the financial support of the ministry. They are:
Matthew 10:8 (KJV)
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Luke 14:28 (KJV)
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Through the ideals presented in those two verses, Blessed Assurance Ministries’ bills were always paid off early, and not one dime was ever or will be ever charged to minister.
The group begins ministering in the McMinn County Jail with Rev. James Morgan, a personal friend of Scott for many years. Acceptance into the McMinn County Jail is given for the group itself shortly thereafter. Scott and Jean now serve with Zion Hill Baptist Church in it's jail ministry and are still on the rotation list for men worship services today.
When Jean and Scott join Zion Hill Baptist, they find a friend of Scott’s there who becomes a very good friend and associate to the ministry, Rev. David Davis. From time to time, David ministers with the group, playing guitar and bass, and taking time at the piano with Scott playing the bass for him, and David singing some of the songs he or his Dad, the late Robert Davis have written.
Sharon and Tim Moses accept a call from God to be more involved with Woodward Avenue Church of God and leave the group. God called Debra Parker and Neil Richerson as the new members of the group. Bob Cody from Cleveland sings with the group on a trial basis for one weekend, and is a special friend of the group to this day. Neil left the group in 2000 to accept the position of Minister of Music at Niota First Baptist Church.
For several months Neil had served Blessed Assurance in a temporary position from the time he joined the group, knowing that God was calling him in other ways. Neil was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1999. During Neil’s tenure, Scott had searched diligently for a Bass singer. At the urging of Rev. Jerry Hamilton, his Sunday School teacher, and Rev. Jimmy McCarter, his pastor, along with much prayer, Scott took over the bass singer position, and Lisa Martin joined the group taking Scott’s place. Clifford, Debra, and Lisa now rotate the responsibilities of lead singer, which was the position Scott held for 5 years.
During the Thanksgiving
and Christmas seasons of 2000, Clifford had a bout with skin
cancer in his facial and ear areas. He was to have surgery and
be in recovery during the holidays. Rev. Jerry Hamilton was
called upon to fill in for Clifford during this time, and did a
wonderful job, having to learn the Christmas music that Blessed
Assurance Ministries had sung for years at the nursing homes.
Jerry still sings with the group from time to time.
In the first couple of months in 2001, Clifford had to undergo radiation to make sure that any remaining cancer was removed. While Clifford had treatment in Nashville, TN during the week, he was at home on the weekends to travel and sing with the group. Folks, that is dedication to God’s call!
In late July 2001, Jean had to undergo surgery to help heal a previous surgery on her leg, which had become infected. For the first time, the group ministered without Jean actually being at the booking. In fact, none of our women were there, because Lisa and Debra had gone on vacation. So, not wanting to let the nursing home residents down, we called on Neil Richerson and Jerry Hamilton to help out once again. Jean sat down at home and recorded tracks for the men to use, and the ministry didn’t miss a beat! In fact, there may have been an offshoot group born that day. Neil sang bass, Jerry took care of the baritone part, Scott did the alto, and Clifford sang his special tenor parts in a group we call “The 4 Ministers Quartet”. And that’s not all! In late August, the guys met again to record the soundtrack for a play to be put on at the Gem Theater in Etowah called “Grace and Glory”.
In October of 2001, Scott started a journey with health problems that probably will plague him the rest of his life. He was diagnosed with worn out knees and arthritis in his lower extremities and back. Even though it is hard for him, his desire is to continue to do what God has called him to do, which is sing and preach. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Dan Martin, Lisa’s husband, for helping load, unload, and set up the equipment many times. In 2002, God led the group in a decision to quit traveling on Sundays so that all the members could devote more time to their individual calling within their local churches. But, the focus of the group has become even more concentrated on the nursing home and jail aspect of the ministry.
In August of 2002, God led Lisa Martin to resign from the group to go in another direction of her personal ministry. Although it was a surprise and a great loss to the group, we support her in her decision. Also in this month, after a lot of prayer, a decision was made in late August 2002 to disband the actual singing group part of the ministry, due to Scott's health problems. However, Scott and Jean are going to continue to do the nursing home and jail ministry as long as God gives Scott the strength to continue.
(This is an update as
of 12/27/2003.) Scott has finally gotten his disability payments
started. Jean and I are still doing the once a month nursing
home services. Due to some changes at the local jail, we have
only been a couple of times in 2003, and hope the future will
change as far as those services are concerned. (NOTE: That situation did change
and we now minister with our church monthly at the jail!) We are activie
in our church, Zion Hill,
and helping there where we can. We do sometimes do an occasional
church service away, but I can no longer do a regular travel
date schedule. But, we still try to do all we can for our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ!
It is with great
sadness we report the passing of Neil Richerson. Neil passed
away June 24th, 2007, at his home. Neil was a great friend, and
dedicated worker for God. Neil served several churches after his
time with Blessed Assurance Ministries, and was Minister of
Music at a church in North Georgia when his graduation day came.
He is missed not only by all of us, but certainly by his wife
Brenda, and his daughters. Please, keep them in your prayers.
2007, Jean and Scott will retire from Blessed Assurance
Ministries. A human being can only do so much, and with both of
us having health problems, and after much prayer, we believe God
has said it is time to rest. Blessed Assurance Ministries
ministered to a lost and hurting world, bringing the hope of
Jesus Christ to each life placed in its path. The nursing home
services we did we will always cherish in our hearts. The jail
services continue through Zion Hill Baptist Church. And the
ministry continues. While we will not be Blessed Assurance
Ministries anymore, Scott & Jean will continue to serve God
to the best of their abilities.
Well, Jean and I are doing pretty well. We are still serving the
Lord. Jean is retired, and has had both her shoulders worked on
in the last 2 years. We have 3 grandchildren, with another one
on the way, two living in Louisville KY, and the other one (and
one to be) living in Cocoa Beach, FL. We travel to see them as
much as we can. Please continue to keep Jean & I, our boys
and their wives, and our grandchilren in your prayers!
Late in 2011, the jail
we ministered in decided that women would no longer be allowed
in men's worship services, and men would not be allowed in
women's services. Jean had been the piano player for the
ministry since it's inception, and we felt it would not be fair
to her to ask her to stay home, so we have resigned from jail
ministry. We hope in the future, that the situation might
change. I might add, at no time in the entire history of our
jail ministry did a male inmate ever say or do anything out of
the way towards Jean. In fact, they always thanked her for her
being there and playing for them. We have checked, and other
jails do not have this restriction.
(in order of their service to the ministry)
Rev. Scott Duckworth- Co-founder
Sharon Moses- Co-founder
Rev. Tim Moses- Co-founder
Rev. Clifford Elkins
Rev. David Davis
Rev. Neil Richerson
Rev. Jerry Hamilton
God has richly
blessed this ministry with wonderful members and friends for a
Thank you for your support throughout the years!
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