While the Rev. Stanley Jones is well known for his service to the community through the church he pastors, many aren't aware that he has a passion for cooking.
His second love is fishing!
Rev. Jones is pastor of Jerusalem Temple, a church on Ivy Street which has over 750 members.
When asked exactly how many, he was quick to say: "Somewhere between one and a thousand!"
The bottom 750-seat section of the church is always full on Sundays, in addition to many members sitting in the balcony above.
Rev. Jones, a native of Clarksdale, moved here in 2004 and became pastor two years later after the retirement of Bishop Clifton Jones, who served the church for 40 years and one day.
Rev. Jones and his wife, Miriam, a retired teacher, have three children: Stan Jr., Brian and Stephanie.
They are equally as proud of their two grandsons: Stan III and Justan.
"They want to stay with papaw all the time," Rev. Jones said.
In addition to his work at church, the pastor is vice chairman of the Mississippi District Council of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
In his free time during the spring and summer, you can often find Rev. Jones fishing at Okatibbee Reservoir.
"It's so beautiful, so quiet and peaceful," he said.
He and fellow church member James Madison like to fish together for crappie.
"We have a ball," Rev. Jones said. "We don't know when to come home."
Rev. Jones is also a gifted musician. He plays the organ, piano and lead guitar.
His grandfather was an old Blues musician, playing in juke joints in Hinds and Rankin counties in the 1920s and 30s.
"He later became a preacher," Rev. Jones said.
An avid reader, the pastor gets energetic when he talks about preaching the gospel.
"I love people," he said. "I am very involved with the ministerial association and working with young people."
His church has an active Sunday school program and several other programs for the youth.
Mrs. Jones teaches Sunday school. She also tutors elementary students after school. She has witnessed a lot of success stories, seeing some students initially failing advance to the principal and superintendent's lists.
"She was a second grade teacher," her husband said. "She pulls her students out of the ruts. She loves this church and the people."
While she was teaching in the Clarksdale school system, Rev. Jones worked the night shift.
He learned to cook so that he could help his wife by preparing supper for his family.
"I learned through trial and error," he said. "To be a good cook you have to have a good imagination. I've developed my own recipes."
He never considered cooking for his family a chore.
"It really touches me to see a woman work a full time job. Men should honor them by helping out," he said.
The pastor has shared three of his favorite recipes. He also extended an invitation to anyone who would like to visit his church.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
1 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
Season chicken early that day before cooking with seasoned salt, very little lemon pepper and black pepper. Make batter with flour and buttermilk and sprinkle lightly with season salt and pepper. Preheat grease to 300 degrees. Dip chicken into buttermilk batter. Place each piece of chicken at least one inch a part. Cover and cook until golden brown. Serve while hot.
PAW PAW'S SWEET POTATO PIE
2 large sweet potatoes
2 sticks pure unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
2 1/2 cups sugar
Boil the potatoes until tender. Peel potatoes after cooking. Place in mixing bowl while still hot. Add butter, vanilla, eggs and sugar. Use mixture to mix ingredients for about 5 to 7 minutes. Place batter in four nine-inch pie shells. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until completely done. Makes four pies.
SMOTHERED CHICKEN AND RICE
6 chicken breasts
Cooked rice, six servings
Can of cream of chicken soup
Can of cream of celery soup
Season chicken breast with lemon pepper, seasoned salt and onion salt. Cook rice as usual until tender. Split each chicken breast down the sides, not cutting all the way through. Place at least two tablespoons of rice inside split breast. Boil the two cans of soup together. Pour over chicken with rice. Cook in oven for 55 minutes at 325 degrees. Serve with boiled carrots and hot butter rolls.