Preacher cited for noise violation returns to Lakeland street corner
www2.tbo.com – He’s back.
The Lakeland street preacher who faced charges he violated the city’s noise ordinance only to see his case dismissed last week, returned today to the street corner where he’s preached for nearly a decade.
Anthony Lowery is still a man with a message, although he knows police will be really listening now.
For the first time in nearly a year Lowery returned to the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue with a prayer, and a voice amplified as it has been for the nine years he’s preached at this spot, and just as it was the day Lakeland police arrested him and charged him with being too loud.
“I just went through a great test,” declares Lowery, “a great test, being falsely accused of something that I didn’t do.”
This time he was sporting a shirt thanking God for the men he says helped him — radio host Bubba the Love Sponge — who gave him free evangelizing time on the air, and Kevin Hayslett, the Clearwater lawyer who defended him free of charge.
Lowery’s greatest thanks though, were to God, he says for getting the case dismissed. In fact, it’s why he’s back.
“Because God has called me,” he says, “He hasn’t called me for the inside of the four walls of the church. He called me to come out here to the lost, the ones that will not go inside the house of God, so this is what I’m called to do. ”
Before his arrest, Lowery was on this corner five and sometimes six days a week. He says he’ll definitely be back, although he’s not sure how frequently. He says he’s waiting for God to give him some instruction on that.
Lowery does expect Lakeland police will have something to say about his return to street preaching.
“I feel like probably they’ll be out to get me,” he says with a laugh.
For their part, Lakeland police say they’ll revisit Lowery if he’s violating the law.
But Lowery has a new strategy in mind for the days he does return to the corner to preach. He plans on being there in the late afternoon when the traffic noise is louder than his sound system.