- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

HENDERSON, N.C. (AP) - After more than a decade of bringing gospel into thousands of homes, Ray Green is retiring.

Green, 87, has been the man behind “Ray’s Gospel Broadcast” for 15 years, but his retirement has made way for his daughter Stephanie Judkins to take over the family business. Green is moving to New York later this month.

“This is my ministry,” Green said. “I’m leaving it in good hands. She came in, and she straightened things out.”

What has grown into a weekly gospel music broadcast started out much smaller. According to his daughter Sheila Allen, Green’s first audiences were the elderly.

“He started out in nursing homes where he would go and set up for the sick and shut in just to spread the word of God through his various tapings of ministries and local gospel groups,” Allen said.

Green said in addition to a rest home, he took his show to Gillburg Prison Camp and let inmates watch his broadcasts.

“That’s where I started out,” he said. “That was my ministry.”

The Granville County native became the man behind Ray’s Window Cleaning Services in North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

After 25 years, Green sold his business and gave all of his time to tapping gospel music performances.

Green said he taped a church in Warrenton and televised their musical performances before he saw an opportunity to do things his way.

“They only stayed on two years,” he said. “I asked the lady (at the television station) if I could go on myself, and she said yes.”

Freddie Hargrove said he worked with Green when he was first starting in the television business. Hargrove said he had retired after an extensive career in television and radio and didn’t mind helping Green as much as he could.

“He stayed busy,” Hargrove said. “I enjoyed working with him.”

With the green light to do his own show, Green said he went to churches to get permission to record their choir performances.

“I had a lot of doors closed in my face,” he said. “A lot of the deacons and church officials didn’t agree with TV in the church.”

Green said he worked with the handful of churches that allowed his camera equipment and let his work to speak for itself.

“I wanted to give it up a lot of times,” he said. “I found out that was my ministry, and I couldn’t give it up.”

Judkins said she remembered some of the early obstacles her father had to overcome.

“He had lights and televisions, and some people thought that was a little too much,” Judkins said.

Judkins began working with Green in 1997 while she was still in high school and has stuck by him ever since.

“I admired what he was doing,” she said. “He was taping years before he was on TV.”

Allen said Judkins “stepped in and smoothed a lot of rough edges for the old man” while he “took her under his wing, and my little sissy began to flourish, and they became a team.”

“Ray’s Gospel Broadcast” with Green and Judkins has been going into homes across North Carolina and Virginia since 2000. The show is now available on Time Warner Cable channel 24.

Green worked on his last show in March when Judkins took over.

“You’re putting your new blood into it,” he said to her. “What you’re doing is better.”

Judkins reflected on her years working with Green and said she looks forward to continuing her father’s legacy.

“I am truly ecstatic that he has entrusted me with such a significant task,” she said. “We’ve endured so much, many ups and downs, failures and successes, differences and certainly have had many lessons learned.”


Information from: The Daily Dispatch, https://www.hendersondispatch.com

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