The Rev. Carl Bert Black, Sr., 72, of Hagerstown, Maryland, went to be with the Lord Sunday December 16, 2007. Carl was truly a “trophy of grace” as he came out of prison on parole, joined the ministry of the Hagerstown Rescue Mission, married the founder’s daughter, and eventually became director of the mission himself. His dramatic conversion and turnaround were featured in an “Unshackled” program, which is still occasionally heard on the air. He attended the Grace Brethren church, where he taught the Friendly Bible Sunday School class.
A part of his story is featured in today’s edition of the Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail, a portion is excerpted here, and it may be read at http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=181817&format=html
The late Jimmy Resh, who founded the Hagerstown Rescue Mission more than 50 years ago, took a chance in early 1959 on Carl Bert Black, the first prison parolee the mission ever accepted.
Even more significant, Resh didn’t stand in the way when his own daughter, Dorcas, showed an interest in Carl.
Eleven months later, Carl and Dorcas were married. They marked their 47th wedding anniversary in July with their family, which includes two sons and their own families.
When Carl first came to the mission on North Prospect Street, the Resh family was living in an apartment behind the dining room.
Although Carl was living elsewhere, he had to report to the mission every day to fulfill his parole requirements. Serving prison time for burglary and larceny, Carl met his parole officer every day at the mission.
In time, he became superintendent of the mission, ministering to the men, and even cooking. . .
. . . In a published report on the occasion of Jimmy Resh’s death in 1996, Carl said his life was completely turned around when he came to the Hagerstown Rescue Mission.
“I was going to hell and I deserved to go to hell,” Carl said then.
But after he came to know Jimmy Resh and accepted Christ in his life, all that changed.
“Carl truly loved the Word of God,” Dorcas said. “He left his King James Bible open on the kitchen table when we took him to the hospital.”