Pastor gives back to hometown

Gives guitar lessons

Staff writer

Pastor John Branson returned to Florence from Wichita Saturday morning seeking to give back to the community he grew up in by offering free guitar lessons at the public library.

“Music brings people together,” he said. “Ali Johnson has graciously opened the library up to me. We’ll just see where this thing takes us.”

Branson said playing the guitar could be a good outlet for people and the lesson was the beginning of an ongoing thing he plans to try to keep up about every other week.

At future lessons, Branson said people from all of Marion County could just show up and receive basic instruction.

“It’s easy guitar 101 stuff, strings chords, note, and how they all fit together in your hands,” Branson said. “We’re talking about putting fingers to the strings.”

However, playing the guitar has a deeper meaning for Branson. To him, it is an avenue for worship.

“Worship drew me to the instrument and if I can teach someone in my hometown to learn guitar, well that would be just great,” Branson said. “I’m at the age where I want to start giving back.”

With the lessons at the library, Branson said he just wants to do good in the world.

Branson graduated from Marion High School in 1985. He also attended Butler County Community College and studied Philosophy and Religious Studies at a Southwestern College.

He is the worship leader at Pawnee Avenue Church of God in Wichita where he uses the guitar to help in worship services.

“I didn’t know anything about worship services until I was at Southwestern College and I heard ‘As the Deer’ I just bawled like a baby,” Branson said. “I said this is what I need in my spirit.”

Shortly thereafter, he said he locked himself in his office and began to teach himself guitar.

“Worship music does something for the soul that the Bible can’t do,” he said. “I will be celebrating 20 years of ministry by leading worship at Florence United Methodist Church June 15, 16, and 17.”

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