A beloved Mississippi pastor and father of seven was killed in a grisly crash last Friday, just months after indicating multiple times to his church and his mother that if he were to die he wanted them to “carry on.”
Popular musician and preacher Nathaniel Charles Miskell of Greater Mount Rest Church in Gulfport died on Highway 49 at the age of 57. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday.
“A few months ago, he told me and his flock a few times, ‘If I’m not here, I want y’all to carry on,” the pastor’s mother, Margie Miskell, revealed in an interview with the Sun Herald.
Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer told WLOX that the preacher died from blunt force trauma at the scene of the accident, which occurred on Highway 49 at East Wortham Road around 4:18 p.m. Friday.
He was traveling north on the highway in a Honda when a Toyota Sienna entered the roadway from East Wortham Road trying to turn south. The two vehicles collided at the intersection, causing the pastor’s death.
Known as a dynamic singer, preacher and songwriter, representatives of the Gulf Coast chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America told the Sun Herald that he developed and promoted his work through the organization for several decades.
“He was our organist and music director,” Sarah Robinson, a GMWA vocalist who worked with the preacher since the mid-1990s, told the publication. “He was a very inspirational man. We would travel all over the country to gospel workshops and he always shined.”
His mother said he started displaying his natural talent for music as early as the age of 3.
“At first, we would try to keep him off the church piano, but he found a way to get back on. He would beat on the piano night and day. He never had a music lesson,” she said.
“He developed his own unique sound. I don’t remember what key he played in, but he gave it such a soothing quality. When I was feeling bad, he would hit that key note; that was always soothing and it took my pain away.”
She said her son took over the church from his father just 13 years ago and Robinson noted that he moved people with his skill at the pulpit.
“He was a very good preacher. He didn’t wait for you to say ‘Amen,’ he made you want to start saying it,” Robinson said.
The late pastor, she said, would usually preach until his clothes were soaking wet with sweat.
“He was a great teacher,” his mother said. “He always told members of his congregation, ‘I need to teach y’all! I need to train y’all! I need to build y’all!’ He wanted them to grow up and be strong Christians.”