The Rev. William Curle: Faith, farming and following God's call

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Shepherding the Heartland, part three of five

By Becca Owsley

God called him to the ministry at age 18, but the Rev. William Curle of Hodgenville ran from his call for many years until God “loved him back” to where he needed to be, he said.


He didn’t really do anything devastating as he ran. He remained active in church but it took him a long time to surrender to his call, he said.

As his calling unfolded, he’s worn many hats, working at Dow Corning in Elizabethtown until 2006, farming and a preaching ministry that began in 1992.

Ten months after finally accepting his calling, Curle was ordained at Walnut Hill Baptist Church and called to serve at Little Zion Church in Glendale.

God began the process of moving him toward Freedom’s Way Church in Cecilia at a revival in a remote part of Casey County, he said. He met with people who prayed diligently for revival and the spirit of the Lord was strong, he said.

During that revival he felt God saying, “You’re going to lead a people who do not look like you but they’ll follow you because of the Christ in you.”

He thought that meant he was on his way to the Far East, but instead God called him from Glendale to a church in Cecilia near Howevalley, Freedom’s Way Church, he said.

Curle, a black Baptist preacher, was called to a non-denominational church that was all-white at the time. It was different but God had pressed onto him and the church members this was the right fit, he said.

“You really see that the church is the church,” he said, referring to the Freedom’s Way congregation and the whole of Christianity. “God is so faithful, he promises and he blesses.”

The small rural church is active in local missions through Warm Blessings and prison ministries but also is involved in international missions. The church has sent individuals to Honduras for many years.

But, in his heart, Curle always has wanted to go to Africa. After an uprising in Kenya he accepted that he would never go. But the next year, he was able to go and made great Christian friends there. 

Recently, after a surprising diagnosis of lymphoma cancer, the people he met in Africa contacted him to let him know they are praying for him.

“It (the diagnosis) was a jolt,” he said.

Right before starting treatment, the doctors discovered he didn’t have cancer after all, even though they had been 99.9 percent sure he did, Curle said.

“The Lord reversed the curse,” he said.

Instead he has sarcoidosis, an auto immune disease. He undergos treatments to shrink his lymph nodes.

His faith, and realizing God is in control, got him through his illness and other difficult times in his life, he said.

“When I can’t see the hand of God I still follow the heart of God,” he said.

He also was able to travel to Israel in 2006.

“We walked where Jesus walked,” he said.

The trip was life-changing.

“It does something to you, seeing things read about in scripture,” walking the Via Dolorosa and singing on the Sea of Galilee, Curle said.

“The spirit that lives inside you bubbles up,” he said.

Another major part of his life is farming and his faith goes hand in hand with that, linking back to the many times Christ taught about sowing, he said.

“When you get to the farm, it’s back to where we began, the Lord made us from the dust of the earth,” he said.

Being able to work the land and see the fruit will help you see God at a different level, giving you a peace and a joy to help you make it with all the other things you have to deal with, he said.

He serves on the board of the Soil Conservation District in LaRue County and he’s on the Farm Service Agency Board.

His son also is a pastor in Eastview.

They don’t get to spend a lot of time together, leading two different congregations, but he loves hearing his message and seeing how God is “using him in a mighty way.”

The hardest part of ministry, Curle said, is watching people go through suffering. Having a pastor’s heart is a different calling than just being a preacher, he said.

A pastor’s heart goes beyond sympathy into empathy, hurting along with them, he said.

His church is more than just friends, it’s an extended family.

“Your hearts are meshed because of Christ in us,” he said.

His ministry is summed up in one simple phrase.

“I just love the Lord and love people,” Curle said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Getting to know the Rev. William Curle:

Age: 58

Family: He and his wife, Eunice, have two children and four grandchildren.

Favorite Hymn: “I Am Redeemed” and his dad’s favorite, “We’ll Understand it Better By and By.”

Favorite movie: He likes movies where the underdog makes a comeback.

Favorite TV: “Person of Interest” and other shows about helping people who can’t help themselves such as “Leverage.”

Sports: He watches the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky and hopes to see UK, U of L and Indiana University in the Final Four this year. He cheers on both teams because he realizes they are made up of kids with a lot on their shoulders.

Favorite person in the Bible other than Jesus: Joseph is one of his favorites. Curle, at 18, ran from his calling, but at 17 Joseph began his journey. Joseph’s integrity was strong, he said.

“Even though it seemed like it was by himself, the Lord guided him the whole way,” Curle said.

Favorite scripture passage: Romans 8:28-29, a passage that helps him realizes that God is faithful, something he clings to as he, or his flock, go through something difficult.