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EUB, Methodist Church, Evangelical Church, church camps, racism, Civil Rights Movement, desegregation

This Is My Story, This Is My Song
Book One: The First Forty-Four Years
by Leonard S. Buxton

The first of two volumes to be published, in This is my Story, This is my Song, Leonard S. Buxton recounts the first half of his engaging life and his long career in ministry. He has written a very entertaining personal account of his upbringing as the son of a fire-and-brimstone Evangelical preacher during the Depression, the beginnings of his political consciousness through WWll, his college life and the strict mores of the 1950s, and moving from parish to parish with his young family during the turbulent social change of the 1960s and early 1970s. As a professor of psychology at Claflin, a black university in South Carolina, Leonard recalls his activism within the church—and literally in his own backyard—to break down the resistance to desegregation and to support the civil rights movement.

This book is filled with evocative photographs and colorful firsthand history, its joys and heartbreaks: Studebakers and VWs, the Red Sox and Yankees, teen hang-outs in drugstores, music, dramatic productions, and church camping, the serious social stigma of divorce, the illegality of adultery, the scourge of polio, the loss of a child, group ‘encounter sessions,’ George McGovern, Benjamin Spock, Kent State, burning crosses . . .

A man devoted to building congregations as a pastor, psychologist, parish counselor, teacher and activist, Leonard depicts characters and narrates events with remarkable acuity. This book is a rich reflection on his experiences, written with candor and humility, and observing people and events through the kind lens of his dedication to serving others and his evolving faith as a Methodist minister. To quote one of Leonard’s aspirations for this memoir, “For those still casting around an unclear future, this may say ‘Take heart; life will be full of surprises.’”

“One of Len Buxton’s many gifts is his grasp of the power of story. His attention to details, interpretive skills, and a keen sensitivity to the formative influence of history are remarkable. As Len embraces and explores the stories from place to place, he unfolds the impact of relationships, contexts, and the layers of intimacy that awaken our own journeys and reflections. Not only do we have stories, but Len recognizes that each of us are a “story” in the most profound sense of what it means to truly live.”

—Rev. Dr. Ed Zeiders, President Emeritus, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio.

“With extraordinary recall, a story teller’s skill, and a pastor’s heart, Len Buxton weaves a witness to a life of faith, hope, and trust. The account of his long career as a faithful servant of Christ is compelling and inspirational and is infinitely readable. His biography spans almost three quarters of a century of church history and demonstrates his commitment to the intersection of faith and culture. Readers will be blessed.”

—Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, Retired, The United Methodist Church.

“Wow! What a story! What a life! What a storyteller! I couldn’t put it down.”

—Rev. Sarah Miller, Retired Superintendent, The United Methodist Church.

Len Buxton was born in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1930, the youngest of three sons, and raised in Evangelical United Brethren Church parsonages. He studied at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, and attended seminary there, as well as the Boston University School of Theology before becoming a Methodist minister.

Leonard earned a graduate degree in psychology, specializing in pastoral counseling, and taught psychology at Claflin University and Benedict College, Columbia South Carolina. He has served many congregations on the east coast of the United States in his long career in ministry.

Leonard and his wife, Tita, have three sons. They have been married for sixty-two years and live in Wesley Village, a United Methodist retirement community, in Pittston, Pennsylvania.


Leonard S. Buxton

What People are Saying

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