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franklin county times

Dessert with Mark Twain to benefit
Aldersgate Retirement Community

By By Ida Brown / special sections editor
August 1, 2004
Dessert and an afternoon with the man who taught the world how to whitewash a fence will be served up in generous portions Sunday at Central United Methodist Church.
A fund-raiser to benefit Aldersgate Retirement Community, the Mark Twain Dessert Theater will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 $10 for senior citizens and may be purchased at the door.
The highlight of the evening will be a presentation by Clarksdale native Jerry Salley in the role of renowned American writer Mark Twain. Dressed in a white suit, Salley will present excerpts from the novels, stories, essays and speeches of the beloved author of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."
Getting in character
Salley, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church and Sageville United Methodist Church, both in Meridian, has performed as Mark Twain for more than 10 years.
After that performance came other requests for the Twain impersonation. Three years later, Salley found himself performing before the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Upon retiring after 26 years of teaching at Coahoma Community College, Salley took his Twain act on the road.
Salley has performed nationwide at colleges and universities, business conferences, conventions, civic clubs, churches, libraries and theaters.
Mostly comedy
Although his material appeals to all audiences, Salley said adults seem to enjoy it more.
He describes the format as "generally fun."
In the late 1990s, Salley felt the call to preach and enrolled in the seminary. As he prepared for the ministry, he continued to perform.
Salley regularly does fund-raisers and benefits for seminaries, churches, missions and non-profit organizations such as the American Cancer Society.
Proceeds from the Aldersgate dessert theater will to improvements and remodeling projects. For more information, contact Lawona Broadfoot at 482-5561.

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