Rebecca West: Words & Music

Her Ministry Photos & Memories

Singing for Jesus

A pastor's daughter, Rebecca started singing in her dad's church 1n 1946 at the age of three. Here in her own words (taken from her autobiography published in 2011) she shares some of her memories:

"When mom and dad retired, we all moved to Bethalto, Illinois, a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. My sister Barbara and her husband Fred lived there also. During this time I started traveling and singing with "The Spirituals," a gospel singing group that Fred and Barbara had started. And like that little girl at age three in my dad's church, I was still singing my heart out. But this time it was to thousands of people in churches and auditoriums all across the United States.

The Spirituals Introductory Album

The Spirituals pose with their first bus for the cover of their first LP stereo album.
During the years that followed they would record 12 additional albums.
(left to right: Marvin, Rebecca, Roy, Barbara, Fred)

The Spirituals live performance during their first year

A live performance early in The Spirituals' ministry. Left to right: Roy Phillips (tenor), Fred Church (lead singer, MC, and manager), Rebecca (alto), and Marvin Harrelson (bass). Rebecca's sister and Fred's wife, Barbara, accompanied the quartet at the piano.

"We sang at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, and many other significant places. We recorded some of our music albums in Nashville. At one time the well-known Jake Hess traveled with us. He was a popular singer on Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" television programs and DVDs.

"We were on stage several times with the Happy Goodmans, the Oak Ridge Boys, and other well-known Southern Gospel groups. I don't think we even realized just how blessed we were at the time. I am sure there were other gospel groups that were better than we were, but we were blessed to have had such a full schedule of appointments. This required complete dedication because this type of ministry can become very tiring and wearing on a person, especially if their heart is not in it. But mine was, completely! I put my heart and soul into every song.

Spirit of the Spirituals record album cover

"Spirit of the Spirituals" album cover (slightly cropped). Rusty Goodman was the recording engineer and producer. Fred Church was lead singer and manager. Rebecca sang alto.
Roy Phillips sang tenor. Marvin Harrelson sang bass. Barbara Church played the piano.
Larry Wagner played guitar. David Wagner played the trumpet.

The Spirituals quartet live performance Mark Church, six-year-old drummer

The drummer was 6-year-old Mark Church who grew up to be the anointed preacher who performed Rebecca and Bob West's wedding in 2009.

"When we arrived at a church or auditorium to sing and minister, it felt wonderful and was worth every mile we had traveled to get to our destination, especially when we saw people being healed and/or turning their lives over to Jesus.

Click here to hear Rebecca and the Spirituals
sing "Sheltered in the Arms of God" c. 1970.

"Many times we would drive all night or drive in snow and on ice to get to our next appointment. Fortunately we had bus drivers who put our safety first.

"Of course we had our own sound equipment, which the guys set up at every church and auditorium. We had the biggest and best sound equipment available. Back in those days, the bigger the speakers were, the better! We had JBLs, the top of the line! The guys had to allow time before each concert to set up all of our equipment, and then take all of the equipment down after the concert and take it all back to the bus! A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes with this lifestyle that many people are not aware of.

"Before each concert my sister Barbara and I set up our record album display.

"As with any music group, singers come and go, and so it was with our group. But our family was always there to keep everything going. It was a ministry, not just something to do on the weekends.

Rebecca Performing

"I remember my brother David working many hours scheduling our performance dates. David was a very talented and professional musician. He could sing and he could play the steel guitar, electric bass, or drums. But when he played the trumpet, his music was anointed and I remember how beautiful it was.

"Someone in our group was always hungry, or had left their suit at home, or forgot something important that they needed on the trip. I also remember that we were always hungry after a concert! We would stop at a restaurant to eat, laugh, and unwind. We were one big happy family and we loved God with all of our hearts.

"We needed a bass player for the band that traveled with us. Phil Enloe recommended Gary Bucher for this position. When we heard Gary play the bass guitar, there was no question concerning his talent. He could pick up almost any instrument and play it beautifully, but he was a master at playing the bass. Gary had a mellow baritone voice and sang with the two other guys in the group. Fred, Gary, and Jim Cochran had a fantastic sound that was difficult to excel by any standard. They were the best!

The Spirituals Thank You Lord Album

The Spirituals (photo from back of "Thank You Lord" album).
Standing (l-r): Rebecca, Gary Bucher, Jim Cochran.
Seated (l-r): Barbara and Fred Church, David Wagner.

"Gary became a part of our singing group in 1972 and we traveled thousands of miles in our Silver Eagle bus. In 1973 Gary and I were married. We continued traveling with The Spirituals for several more years, giving our time and talent to God completely. I wrote the title song to "Takin' You Home," one of the many albums we recorded during that time. It was a great album. And it was a great time in our lives that I will never forget. I hold all these wonderful memories in my heart.

"In the mid-nineties my family decided to go off the road and start a church.

Silver Eagle bus

"Gary and I decided to take over the bus and continued traveling in full-time ministry. We loved it and God opened doors for us in which to minister. Periodically, we sang at the Jim Stafford Theater in Branson, Missouri, under the direction of Aaron and Sheila Artt. We became very close friends with them over the years. We had the opportunity to sing at Larry Lee's church in Texas, Robert Tilton's church, and Nancy Harmon Campmeeting in Portland, Oregon. We held a revival in Corpus Christi, Texas, then ministered in several other churches in Texas for a period of three months. Jan Enloe, Gary's sister, lived in Victoria, Texas, at that time and she was a great support to our ministry.

"We made three tours of California and sang in several churches there. We were privileged to sing on several television networks as well. We recorded one of our music albums in New Jersey, another one in Nashville, and some in other places.

"When we were home, I mailed out all promotional material, scheduled our services and concerts, and did all follow-up mailing to the pastors, which included contracts for air fare, lodging, etc.

"By the time I worked a couple of days in our home office, it was time to pack up and head out again! Gary was busy getting the bus ready for another trip, checking the sound equipment, and getting more inventory ready to load on the bus. He loved driving the bus. He was an excellent bus driver. He could set a glass of water on the dash of the bus and not a drop of water would be spilled. It was smooth sailing!

Gary & Becky's 'The Believer...' Album

The cover of one of Rebecca and Gary's albums

"The heart of our ministry was to veterans. We held veterans rallys in almost every state. Gary was one of the special speakers at the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. We started a club for veterans called "Veterans Club of America." There were more than 300 members. Every Veterans Day Gary would call every one of them on the phone and thank them for freedom. Gary was a Viet Nam Veteran, and the recepient of the Purple Heart Award."

You may read more about that part of Rebecca's life in her autobiography, which is available online here at her website free of charge. Just click on "Her Book" in the sidebar menu on the right. It is the story of God's unfailing love.

The book is also available in paperback from

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