Testimony

Ernie Richmond

I am so blessed that the Lord has called me into His service, spreading his Word through music and ministry. It is a great miracle to have found such great friends, Bill, Sam, Phil and Jim, who help me spread God's love through our music. Our meeting and joining together in song was no coincidence. I love God, and am thankful that He has given me the opportunity to help those who are in need, sharing a song, a testimonial, offering a friendly word, a laugh. I take so much for granted, but I see a need that I can fill, bringing hope, love and fellowship to many who are no longer able to take care of themselves or live a regular life, now resigned to live in assisted living centers or nursing homes. When I am connecting with them, I believe that I am with God, and He with us. Seeing people's faces light up in a smile when we play, hearing them join with us in song and praise, there is no greater joy.

Ernie Richmond


Bill Downey

When I think about the Georgia Gospelites, I think of connections. Several years ago, my wife and I were looking for a church to call our own and we found it at Mt. Carmel UMC in Norcross. This led us to connect with Ernie, who was new to the area and also looking for a place to make a spiritual connection. About that time, the Berkeley Lake Chapel, in the community where we live, was in need of a new music director and Ernie took over those responsibilities. Shortly thereafter, the Chapel was having one of their monthly services out on the lake and Ernie and I teamed up to perform some gospel music with guitars. That connection then led Ernie and I to become part of the musical group for the contemporary service at Mt. Carmel. That in turn led us to meet Sam. And then Phil came along to Mt. Carmel. I believe quite strongly that these connections were not random or coincidental and that they were the hand of God in our lives at a time when we all needed something. In addition to allowing me to participate in a ministry of music, being in this group has been a reinforcing and encouraging force in my spiritual life.

Bill Downey


Sam Tapley

My musical background over the past twenty years or so has been mainly ministry focused, leading the praise and worship in a prison outreach group in Florida. Since moving to Georgia in 2003, I hadn't had the opportunity to participate in music ministry until the Georgia Gospelites. It's good to be back in an outreach ministry. Singing for those in assisted living facilities brings smiles to them and to us. Many of the songs are familiar, and hearing many sing along with us is a blessing.

Sam Tapley


Phil Griffin

Being a part of The Georgia Gospelites is one of God's many blessings in my life. Music has been a major part of my life as long as I can remember. I began playing guitar at the age of 12 and have played ever since. It wasn't until I attended Mt. Carmel Church in Norcross, that I would meet the original three members of The Gospelites Ernie, Bill and Sam. Honored to be asked to join such a talented group of guys, I began playing with them at various nursing homes and churches around town. Not long after my joining of the band, Jim Fox, a great bass player, singer and musician would become the fifth member. Rounding out who we are today, The Georgia Gospelites. Being able to play and celebrate God through our many talents is an amazing experience. Bringing the joy of music to those who hear us, is what it's all about. I am thankful every day to be a part of such great thing, and most of all meeting four new friends.

Phil C. Griffin


Jim Fox

If I told you how many years I've been playing music, you'd figure out how old I am... so let's just say I've been playing for a long time. From almost the very beginning, I've specialized in three instruments... guitar, bass, and piano. Currently I play any combination of those instruments, and provide vocal support, to a number of Atlanta-area bands, including Craver, Bulletproof, The Shoes, and, of course, The Georgia Gospelites. I first heard these guys playing at the Lake Berkeley Chapel, and I was so bold as to ask if they thought that adding a falsetto-singing bass player would be a positive step for them. The rest is history. Playing with The Georgia Gospelites has been a very rewarding experience... it is always a thrill to see the various audiences connect with what we're doing. People have asked me what a Zen Buddhist is doing playing bass for a Gospel band, and I tell them that I've always embraced the teachings and way of Jesus, and I'm pleased to be able to share some of his important messages through music.

Jim Fox