When he was a boy, Bert Lloyd was curious about the working of Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church where his fascination with the pipe organ knocked the tubes out of tune.
Today, Lloyd, 60, is more fascinated with the ways of God and will be standing in the pulpit at 11 a.m. Aug. 16 at his former church.
The pastor of Bread of Life Assembly of God in the Catskills of New York, Lloyd has been invited to preach at Fifth Avenue United Methodist when he visits Altoona to attend a family wedding.
(Courtesy photo) Bert Lloyd of Wurtsboro, N.Y., is the pastor of Bread of Life Assembly of God in Bullville, N.Y.
Sherrie Buchanan of Altoona is a member of Fifth Avenue and her daughter is the bride. She said her pastor, the Rev. Evie Madison, asked her to invite Lloyd to speak.
Madison said she learned about Lloyd and his roots in the church during a congregational meeting on Father's Day.
She said members were reminiscing about contributions men had made to the church, and someone mentioned the late Bob Buchanan, who was youth group leader when Lloyd was a teen. That led to a conversation about Lloyd and his accomplishments.
"There is a lot of interest in this," Sherrie Buchanan said. "People who moved away are coming back to hear him."
Lloyd has been a minister (part-time for about 10 years) since the early 1990s when he earned his credentials and was ordained through the Assembly of God.
He and wife started a Bible study in their home about 20 years ago that eventually developed into Bread of Life. Today, the church has its own building and membership has grown to more than 200 people.
Between college and his call to the ministry, Lloyd was an entertainer and professional singer for 30 years.
He was a dancer and did comedy as well.
He sang on cruise ships, played the role of Mr. Allmine on "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" in 1974 and '75 and sang in Pittsburgh clubs and restaurants. He did theater in New York where he acted in "Sweet Feet" and also performed a concert at Town Hall.
He said a busload of people from Altoona attended both New York performances.
Lloyd even returned to Altoona to give a one-man show at the Mishler.
He went to Hollywood when he was in his 30s and opened for Danny Thomas and Milton Berle. While he was working in California, he kept his ties in New York. It was one important tie in Manhattan that would lure him back to the city - he was in love.
He had met his wife in a Charismatic church in Manhattan and decided he could not live without her.
"I was more in love than I wanted to admit," he said. "So I got married at age 32 and we have two wonderful boys."
Lloyd said he had a desire to serve God, even in his youth.
"I had seen the power of the disciples, and I was searching for that relationship with Jesus Christ," he said.
He said there is a Scripture that says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
He said he felt that early training that he received at Fifth Avenue United Methodist calling him.
"It was more of a pull after time than show business."