Bernard Horsley: Kentucky Preacher

Phil Grear

Much of God's work is done by Christians who humbly serve God because of their love for him, and not for recognition. It was my privilege to meet such a man while holding a Gospel Meeting with the Mason County church of Christ in Maysville, Kentucky, this past summer. It was a privilege to meet brother Bernard Horsley and his good wife, Joy.

Brother Horsley was born in Carter County, KY, on October 23, 1931, to the late Harry Horsley and Dorothy Horsley who, at the age of 94, still lives in Knoxville, TN. He was baptized on August 8, 1954, in Flatwoods, KY. He graduated from high school in Olive Hill, KY, and then served four years in the Air Force. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with both bachelors and masters degrees in agriculture. He taught high school for twenty-seven years in Kentucky and Ohio.

While teaching school in West Union, OH, he preached part time for the church there; but he longed to devote fulltime to preaching, and, at fifty years of age, he took steps to do that. He arranged for a preacher to take his place in West Union, sold his farm, and moved to Searcy, AR, to enroll in Harding University. He told Joy that he wanted to "devote fifteen years to the Lord's work" before he retired. He attended college for twelve straight months and graduated in 1977 with an M. Ed. in Bible Education. He has since preached for churches in Florida and Kentucky. In 1992 he began work with the Mason County church in Maysville, KY.

Brother Horsley married Viola Burchett in 1958, and they have one daughter, Malinda Kaye Deacon of Mt. Gilead, OH. When Viola passed away of cancer in 1975, he married Joy Laurence Spragg and now has three stepchildren and four step grandchildren. He has three brothers and three sisters who are all Christians. Two of his brothers, Mark and Ronald, are preachers of the Gospel.

The keystone of Bernard's work through the years has been the Bible Correspondence Course he authored. He began this effort in 1986 with the book of Acts and, eventually, covered most of the New Testament. Originally, he, his wife, and some of his friends graded the lessons, but it eventually grew to the point where additional help was needed. It is currently under the oversight of the Washington St. church in St. Albans, WV. As of July, 2006, over 300,000 lessons had been graded and mailed. Several baptisms have resulted, and only eternity will reveal the tremendous good this course has accomplished through the years.

Although Bernard and Joy have been with the Mason County church since 1992, a debilitating stroke forced him to quit preaching in 1997. He and Joy had bought the preacher's house from the church, and Bernard personally remodeled it into a bed and breakfast. Unfortunately he suffered his stroke the day it was to open. He now gets around in a wheel chair and has difficulty speaking, but he was present at every service of the Gospel Meeting. His faithful determination to be at worship is truly an encouragement to all in that good congregation.

Joy takes loving care of him and is obviously proud of the work he has done.

It is a privilege to know this humble servant of God, and we certainly should thank God for all of the good he has accomplished through the years. -2863 East High St., Springfield, OH 45505.


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