Tommy Bilyeu was the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church of Springfield from 1968 to January of 1970. This was a time of growth for the church and when Pastor Tommy left it was to another church. Your Examiner was a teenager at that time and has many fond memories of the Bilyeu family. Christianity was becoming not the family religion, but a personal belief.
On Saturday September 26 during the 100th anniversary celebration, his family returned. Son, Jamie, and daughters, Tammy and Tonya make up the Bilyeu Trio. They came to visit, entertain and encourage the church that their father had pastored when they were small children. Tommy’s wife Joan was there and sang a few songs with her children.
The music was wonderful and the memories that were shared made the tears flow. While Tammy, Tonya and Jamie have few memories of their time at Immanuel, as a teenager your Examiner could relate to good and bad times. As with any church family there were things to be thankful for and events that brought sadness.
After the concert Joan Bilyeu remembered the three Kensinger boys that were teenagers when she and her husband served that church. It was good to visit with them and see some of the friends that had not been able to make the Saturday afternoon fellowship. Dawna was greeted with a big hug. It was the first time in years to see her. Don and his wife were also there as well as many others that came for the reunion.
After hearing the Bilyeu Trio for the first time hopefully the opportunity to be present at a concert again will present itself. They added to the weekend experience for everyone that attended. Check them out on Facebook. And if your church is needing to book a group for a special event, contact them.
You can also visit the Riverdale Baptist Church in Nixa where Jamie is currently pastor. His Dad was pastor there for 38 years. Most of the family are members there. Immanuel’s loss was Nixa’s gain.