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Dr. Jeff Eaton was in Russell County on Labor Day weekend for his annual guest speaking engagements at the church he founded at Lake Cumberland's Jamestown Marina boat dock 21 years ago and at Fairview Baptist Church.
Eaton, a 1983 graduate of Campbellsville University, is a Campbellsville native. He started a new church, Hope Community Church, in Lawrenceburg, after having served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Russell Springs for many years. His wife, Julie Winn Eaton, also a Campbellsville native and CU alumna, sings with Hope's praise teams.
The lake service is now directed by another CU alumnus, pastor Rick Mann at Fairview Baptist Church in Russell Springs, Ky. Mann always invites Eaton "home" to his lake service for the anniversary, and to also speak at Fairview's homecoming.
The service on the lake is relaxed and informal with a continental breakfast. Julie Eaton led the congregation in a cappella singing of hymns as the boat rocked on the water. The service is in the yacht club room of the Marina. It started out in the conference room of the hotel but has grown to need the full meeting room space of the yacht club down on the water at dock level. Surrounded by pleasure boats, pontoon boats and houseboats, the club room is central to all who live and vacation on the water.
Eaton will be a guest lecturer in the School of Theology at CU's Louisville Center this semester.
He will likely share with new students that as a preacher's child he had "absolutely no intention" of following in the footsteps of his father, the Rev. Thurman Eaton, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Taylor County.
Eaton completed his bachelor's of science degree in business administration from Campbellsville University and headed into management at UPS. He says that Al Hardy, CU's dean of academic support, was like a second father to him as he worked through the decision to go to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He recently completed his doctorate at Fuller Seminary.
He and his wife have two children, Andrew and Laura.
Linda Waggener is marketing and media relations coordinator at Campbellsville University.