Christine Barker Haggai, whose husband, Dr. John Edmund Haggai, was in Chattanooga from 1951 to 1954 as pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church, has died at age 95 at Johns Creek, Ga.
She was born in Bristol, Virginia, on June 21, 1924, and was the daughter of the late James Calvin and Ida Cox Barker.
By the time she was 13 years old, church and media people alike recognized her outstanding soprano voice. While still in her teens, her music career was well established. She conducted her own weekly musical program on Bristol’s radio station, WOPI. She coupled her music career with music studies at Sullins College.
In 1943, she won the regional Hour of Charm contest sponsored by America’s famed Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra. The American Federation of Music Clubs immediately offered her a full four-year scholarship to study at the Julliard School of Music. Impelled by a deep conviction that God was directing her into church-related vocational services, she declined the scholarship and went to Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute to prepare for Christian service.
As a music major, she sat under the teaching of well-known composers such as George Schuler, composer of “Make Me a Blessing,” and Harry Dixon Loes, “Blessed Redeemer.” She became acquainted with William M.
Runyan, composer of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Christine was a frequent soloist at the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago.
It was at Moody Bible Institute that she met and married fellow student John Edmund Haggai, who became a pastor of Jackson Baptist Church in Wellford, South Carolina, Second Baptist Church in Lancaster, South Carolina, Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, and Ninth and O Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Following his pastorates, he entered the field of itinerant evangelism for 13 years, choosing Atlanta as his base since 1961. Christine complemented his preaching ministry with her gift of music, as a soprano soloist in services and on radio broadcasts. In 1969, he founded a ministry equipping national Christian leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America, now Haggai International. Dr. John credits Christine with making the worldwide ministry possible.
Their only child, a son, Johnny, was born in 1950. A birth injury (caused by the brutal delivery of an intoxicated doctor) left Johnny a cerebral-palsied child and confined his 24 years to invalidism. (After Johnny’s death in 1975, her husband, John, wrote a book entitled My Son Johnny, which described the isolating but loving care Christine gave their son during his eventful 24 years.)
After Johnny’s death, Christine worked in a multiplicity of community projects. She organized and chaired for four years the annual Northside Woman’s Club Prayer Breakfast, served as Chaplain for the Atlanta Chapter of Freedom’s Foundation, worked as a volunteer at Georgia Baptist Medical Center and recruited women for Volunteer Services at the hospital.
Christine maintained active church involvement where she taught adult Sunday School and took part in the music program.
She has presented programs of music, personal testimony, and counsel to church groups, clubs, and conventions. Christine has rendered her unique ministry of music and help in many nations around the world.
Christine is survived by her husband of 74 years, John Edmund Haggai; a brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Stephens Haggai (Buren) of High Point, North Carolina and numerous other relatives and friends around the world.
A memorial service will be held Friday, August 16, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Johns Creek Baptist Church, 6910 McGinnis Ferry Road, Alpharetta, Georgia. (https://jcbc.org/) Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Shaun King will officiate. Dr. Haggai will receive friends at the church immediately following the service. Private burial, Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Memorial gifts may be made to Haggai International; 4725 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200; Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 or via www.haggai-international.org.