Pastor Pat Wright’s younger brother Rev. Gregory Staten attended the annual church reunion in Carthage Texas last year and interviewed a few of the church members there who grew up with her. Former church members who have moved away from Carthage make a pilgrimage back every August for a church reunion, known as “Big Day”, and always look forward to a performance from Patrinell. In previous years, the entire Total Experience Gospel Choir has attended.
Pat Wright’s father, Rev. Alton B. Staten Sr., was the pastor at two different churches in Carthage–Pleasant Valley Baptist Church and New Jerusalem Church at Fairplay–before he brought both congregations together at Pleasant Valley Baptist which is still located on the corner of Pipkins and Tatum Streets.
Big Day is held in the area where Pat Wright grew up, which is known as Walnut Grove. It is located about 5 miles north of the center of town. The Walnut Grove Baptist Church is located on Country Road 302 and is about 100 yards west of the New Haven AME Church on 2450 Country Road 302. The best way to find the Walnut Grove Baptist Church on Google Maps is to search for the Walnut Grove Cemetery which is located behind the church, and which is where Pat Wright’s parents, Haru Butler Staten (1908-1976) and Alton B. Staten Sr. (1906-1961) are buried.
Pastor Pat says that the two Walnut Grove churches would alternate holding Sunday services every week, so that the Methodist church would hold services on 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and the Baptist church would hold services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday and everyone would go to both services.
The farm where Pat Wright grew up is still owned by her family. She says that it is rich with oil and gas. The satellite view shows that the land all around Carthage is dotted with gas wells from fracking.
Andrew Elizaga, Co-Director