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Guido Gardens to hold piano dedication service
Bill Perry, Bill Coen to lead service Friday
Bill Perry, left, and Bill Coen

It's being billed as the top returning duo performance of the century. 

Well, that's not exactly accurate, but two "Bills" are reuniting for the first time in years for a piano dedication service at the Guido Gardens Hamstra Center in Metter at 7 p.m. Friday. The public is invited to attend.  

Bill Perry and Bill Coen, Statesboro First Baptist Church's former pastor and worship leader, respectively, are on the program to dedicate a Yamaha Grand piano that was recently donated to the Guido Ministries 

in Metter. 

Guido Evangelistic Association began more than 60 years ago under the direction of Michael Guido, along with his wife, Audrey. Guido would affectionately become known as "The Sower" and his "Seeds from the Sower," brief, poignant messages about God's love, were heard on the radio and watched on television around the world.

Guido Ministries continues today under the leadership of Guido's brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Mary Guido.

Rev. Coen is bringing others with him to help worship that evening. 

"I'm not a pianist, so I am bringing with me a dear friend, David Bramlett, who is an excellent gospel pianist and has played since he was a child. Good friends from Statesboro, Mike Bowen on percussion and Paul Reaves on bass, complete our ensemble," he said.

The service is designed to honor the piano gift and dedicate it to God for the ongoing ministry that has been the Guido passion for years. The timely theme for the event is "Love Matters," with a "focus on God's amazing love," Coen said.

"There are many words for 'love,' and God's love encompasses them all," Coen said. "The evening will represent the spectrum of God's love.

"The music will be quite a mix," he said. "Songs once included by Michael Guido on his radio programs, some down-home gospel, a few new songs, and we'll include some romantic ballads."

Coen retired after 50 years of full-time music ministry five years ago, serving the last 13 at Statesboro First Baptist Church. Coen continues to do concerts, serves as interim music minister and sings and travels with the Sons of Jubal. 

He and his wife, Dorothy, moved to the North Georgia mountains upon retirement. 

"Before my good friend Dr. John Waters came to FBC, I had the great honor of serving alongside Dr. Bill Perry," Coen said. "Bill and I became great friends the first time we met and I have grown so much from and enjoyed his preaching, teaching, spirit and marvelous sense of humor." 

Rev. Perry plans to share his love-themed message through the use of stories, said the preacher and writer. Rev. Perry writes a recurring article in the Statesboro Magazine.

Perry served as pastor of Statesboro First Baptist Church for 22 years, retiring in 2004. He and his wife, Margaret, continue to reside in Statesboro. Since retirement, he has served a dozen churches as interim pastor, currently preaching at Twin City First Baptist Church.

"It's going to be an exciting night," said Larry Guido. "The first time the two have been back together since Bill Perry retired. A montage of music from Bill Coen and friends, and Bill Perry will share his wit and wisdom."

Guido Gardens is located at 600 North Lewis Street in Metter.

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