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Lincolnton street preacher won’t back down

Alan Hoyle with signs at his Poplar Street business in Lincolnton, Hoyle’s Healthy Hearth and Home.

Alan Hoyle with signs at his Poplar Street business in Lincolnton, Hoyle’s Healthy Hearth and Home.

Staff Writer

You have likely seen his trucks around Lincoln County. They are hard to miss. They don’t serve as primary advertising space for his heating and cooling business. Alan Hoyle uses his trucks to bring attention to what he feels are threats to Christianity. The Ten Commandments are clearly posted on the rear door of one of the box trucks. A dead fetus appears on the side of another in a statement against abortion. One of his signs expresses his disdain for homosexuality. He emphatically frowns upon Islam and the acceptance of homosexuals in the military.

Hoyle isn’t shy about having a conversation about right and wrong. Those conversations often turn into debates on a street corner.

“There is right and wrong. God’s word tells us not to kill and he tells us that sodomy is wrong,” Hoyle said. “His word also tells us that marriage is for a man and a woman. You can’t twist God’s word to fit earthly desires.”

Hoyle, 53, was born and raised in Lincoln County. He was raised on a farm in Cat Square and attended West Lincoln High School, where he graduated in 1979. He showed a strong aptitude for mechanics as a young child and could take lawnmowers apart and reconstruct them as a school-aged boy, out of sheer curiosity and a thirst to know how things worked.

Hoyle’s faith has been influenced by others throughout the years.

“Early on, my parents took me to Sunday school and then my Mom would take me again on Sunday and Wednesday night,” Hoyle said. “My faith comes from the Holy Spirit that God puts inside of each one of us.”

Hoyle said that he has had three major spiritual experiences in his life. The first came when he was 8 years old and was attending Vacation Bible School.

“Many people would use the word ‘saved’ in that situation,” he said. “For me, it was a moment that I really connected with the Holy Spirit.”

Once again, in his 20’s in the mid-1980s, he had another experience after attending a PTL Club-sponsored Pat Robertson engagement near the state line of North Carolina and South Carolina. At the time, he was delivering newspapers for the Charlotte Observer in the early morning hours.

“I stayed to attend a prayer meeting at midnight,” Hoyle said. “For some reason the meeting was canceled and I didn’t want to leave until some burning question that I had was answered. I was questioning my faith at that time and I was tired of the roller coaster ride. I was looking for an answer.”

Hoyle found his answers within himself as he walked the spacious grounds where the event had taken place.

“The Lord spoke to me while I was walking,” Hoyle said. “His words were clear in my mind. The just shall live by faith and not by sight.”

His third spiritual experience happened in 2012, while he was going through traumatic personal turmoil related to family issues. According to Hoyle, that personal experience provided strength during a time that he needed it the most.

Hoyle’s life in the military is something that he holds dear. For him, the oath that he took is something that rings as powerfully today as it did over 35 years ago.

Hoyle took advantage of a delayed entry program and enlisted as a U.S. Marine during his senior year of high school. His father, the late John Hoyle, was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

“Looking back, I do regret not taking full advantage of the delayed entry program,” Hoyle said. “I could have signed in 1978.”

Hoyle said that his upbringing influenced his 23 years of active duty in the U.S. Marines.

“Because I was raised on a farm and the fact that there is a lot of maintenance on a farm, my dad was mechanical and that was a natural thing for me to gravitate to in the Marine Corps,” he said.

Hoyle served for 13 years as a member of the Lincoln County Rescue Squad and for two decades with the Union Fire Department.

While Hoyle has served his country and his community in various capacities, he is most recognized for his faith and how he witnesses to others.

“I am a street preacher. I don’t tie myself to a title because we are supposed to tie ourselves to Him,” Hoyle said, as he pointed to the sky. “People on the street are always trying to stump me. They try to put a stop to my message and things of that nature. Most people I talk to on the street had religion and they rebelled against it because they realized that it’s not the truth. “

The former firefighter believes in one race — the human race.

“We all came from the same mother and daddy in Adam and Eve,” Hoyle said. “We are the human race.”

Hoyle said that there are things that have affected the U.S. military, and law enforcement as a whole, in a negative way.

“You can be the baddest, roughest Marine or Green Beret but you can’t take another man’s life and not have it affect you,” Hoyle said. “To take a life, the word of God tells us, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ but there are instances where we are allowed to kill. We have to eat but to go out in the woods and kill a deer for nothing more than to saw off its head for the antlers is wrong. The word of God tells us that we have a responsibility to defend. We have got to take life to defend.”

Hoyle said that people often say that he has no right to push his opinions on them.

“I do not have any right to do that,” Hoyle said. “But when it is the word of God, it isn’t my opinion. Whether its sodomy or murder or whatever, I want to communicate with people and make the biggest splash or ripple that I can.”

There are a few men who Hoyle has looked to for truth in his life. In the past, the late Jerry Falwell was a favorite and, most recently, Wisconsin pastor and pro-life activist Matt Trewhella and Washington State pastor Mark Blitz.

Hoyle has had the windows of his business broken out with rocks or bricks as recently as two weeks ago, and as often as a dozen times over the last two years. He accepts the consequences of delivering his message. Once in Ohio, two years ago, violence toward him erupted.

“A Muslim hit me. I don’t hate him for it,” Hoyle said. “He didn’t understand the message and I simply carried on with my message. Someone who is hostile doesn’t bother me.”

Hoyle said that he often receives support from people in many ways. He was most affected by a woman who passed him on the highway while he was driving one of his trucks.

“A black woman looked at me and wrapped her arms around herself like she was giving me a hug,” Hoyle said. “It was as if I were there and she was wrapping her arms around me.”

The street preacher was once approached by a man who gave him $20. The man then thanked him for what he was doing.

“I get a lot of middle fingers and rude gestures,” he said. “I was up here at the main intersection giving a message about what marriage is and a man driving by gave me the bird. He had his window rolled down and I told him that I loved him. He stopped and walked up to my car and what I said had affected him. That was meaningful to me. He understood I was preaching the truth and I shook his hand.”

In reference to his business, Hoyle Services started in 1981 and serviced many homes in Lincoln County.

“I started with chimney cleaning and servicing alternative forms of heating,” Hoyle said. “I eventually got into modern heating and air. I have serviced a lot of older homes and some of my early customers have since passed away.”

The businessman has since taken the name “Hoyle’s Healthy Hearth and Home.” He said he feels that the name represents his work and company goals that encapsulate the helping of people.

Hoyle has only refused service to one potential customer in over 30 years of service to Lincoln County.

“The ABC Store,” Hoyle said. “Because they sell alcohol.”

Hoyle said he struggles with sin, just like any other man. He says that gluttony is a sin and that overeating is something he has to pay close attention to. He likes to run and finds it helps to keep him fit.

“I struggle with that to some degree,” Hoyle said. “You have to experience things to become addicted to them. I only drink alcohol if it is in medicine and I really don’t want to find that I could have a problem with something. Eating is a tough one because we all have to eat.”

According to Hoyle, he was arrested in Washington, D.C. for carrying a concealed weapon that was registered, but registered in North Carolina.

“I was carrying a sign in front of the Hartman building and I was there for about an hour and a half,” he said. “I decided to walk across the lawn of U.S. Capital and then leave. I was appalled that I was the only one from a large group of people to show up that were supposed to so I was pretty easy to pick out. The police had seen me on the street in front of the Hartman building. I have always carried and I try to be a law-abiding citizen but I did have a permit and it was registered but not in D.C. A policeman asked me if I knew what I was allowed to do. He told me not to be yelling at people. Another policeman came up behind me and I was ready to leave and he asked me if I had a firearm on me. I had the right to plead the fifth but I answered the question. The word of God says not to lie and I wasn’t concerned about telling the truth so I said yes. They handcuffed me and pulled my .380 pistol from my pocket. I was jailed overnight and went before the judge and while I was in the holding tank I ministered to some of the men there. I went before the judge and the public defender I was given was divinely appointed. I had no bond whatsoever. I had to go back five times for hearings and my attorney was a great one. I wore my Marine uniform to the hearings and they tried to block me from wearing it and the DA threatened further arrestment if I wore it. The judge denied the DA’s request to keep me restricted from the area. My truck and my gun were impounded, which I got back and my gun and bullets were returned. They offered me a plea bargain and brought it down to a misdemeanor instead of a felony and I refused the plea bargain. The judge asked me three times why I wouldn’t accept the plea bargain and I told him because I didn’t violate the constitution and that I swore to protect it. I am not guilty. He asked me to talk to my attorney and get advice again and then I refused to accept it again. The judge dismissed all of the charges. My attorney had a victory party because he won a case against the federal government. I did not attend.”

Hoyle is direct and precise in thoughts in regards to the U.S. Constitution.

“I swore an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution as a Marine,” Hoyle said.

“North Carolina is in violation of the U.S. Constitution because it says that you have a right to own and bear arms but it doesn’t give you the right to concealed carry. If it is a right and is established by the word of God, the constitution came from the word of God, if I have a duty and right to protect my fellow man, my family and my land or whatever, then I have a right to have a means to be able to do that by bearing a sword or arms. So, to restrict someone from doing that means I am giving you permission to do that with a permit when it is already a right.”

Hoyle is a father of six children and is divorced. He still wears his wedding ring and said that he will continue to do so. He was found guilty of stalking his estranged wife. Hoyle did not want the divorce.

“Until she dies,” Hoyle said. “Because I am committed. God hates divorce. So why should we accept it? The church accepts it and it is wrong.”

Hoyle says that a Christian is one who is “Christ like.”

He encourages others to read their Bible and practice verse memorization.

“It isn’t because you go to church five times a week. It is because you are “Christ-like.”

Hoyle is currently preparing for a run at a county office. Which one, he would not confirm.

“I can’t reveal that just yet,” he said. “But I am preparing a campaign.”


Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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