The Rev. Rick Stanley grew up in Graceland with a famous older step-sibling. Today, he focuses more on the true grace he found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
An evangelist who has visited more than 4,000 churches worldwide, Stanley is the stepbrother of the late Elvis Presley, who is often referred to as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Stanley will speak at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Northside Baptist Church at 1250 Columbia Road in Orangeburg.
He will also preach at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 6, at the church before speaking for a final time there at 6 p.m. that Sunday. The events are free and open to the public.
Stanley grew up with Elvis and later served as his bodyguard and personal aide. While he will talk about his life with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stanley said he will also talk about his relationship with the King of Kings.
“I tell people all the time that Elvis is just a chapter in my life — he’s not the book,” he said.
Stanley has appeared on all the major television talk shows. He is associate pastor of Eureka First Baptist Church in Eureka, South Carolina.
Stanley’s mother married Elvis’ father, Vernon, following her divorce from his father and the death of Elvis’ beloved mother, Gladys.
“Elvis’ mom died in 1958. My parents were divorced. ... I was placed in a foster home for a year during the divorce. I came out, and it was July 3, 1960. My mom married Vernon Presley, and that’s when I went from a foster home into Graceland,” Stanley said.
It was incredible living in the mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, he said.
“I met Elvis, and the first thing he said was, ‘I’ve always wanted little brothers and now I have three,’” Stanley recalled. “Elvis was a lot of fun. He loved to play football and was kind of like just a big kid.”
He added, “When I met him, he had stopped doing concerts and was making movies. He started touring again in 1969, and that’s when I was 16 years old and started traveling with him doing security and serving as his personal aide.”
The lifestyle was wonderful, but sometimes troubling, he noted, adding, “it had its downside because Elvis unfortunately struggled with addiction to prescription medication. ... I’m convinced he never really got over the death of his mother.”
Stanley said Elvis was a great man who probably “should have surrounded himself with some more godly people.”
“I think if Elvis had lived longer, he would have moved toward the ministry,” he said. “Just before he died, my stepfather told me, ‘Ricky, Elvis always wanted to be a preacher.’”
Stanley has been in the ministry 38 years; he was saved on Oct. 16, 1977, he said.
“I had no idea the Lord would call me in the ministry,” Stanley said.
“Some people felt it was newsworthy that Elvis’ little brother got saved, and then I started having people say, ‘Would you come and speak at my church?’ ... I started speaking in churches.”
Stanley went to college, then on to Southwestern Seminary, where he earned a master’s degree.
After Elvis died on Aug. 16, 177, Stanley went to California, becoming a stuntman on the “Black Sheep Squadron” TV show.
A trip to visit friends in Destin, Florida changed his life, he said.
“While there, a friend of mine convinced me to go to church ... and that’s when I got saved. ... The Holy Spirit just filled my life and changed my actions and attitude,” Stanley said.
The Rev. Dr. Shane Stutzman, senior pastor of Northside Baptist, said Stanley’s visit will be part of the church’s “Caught in a Trap” weekend.
He said he hopes Stanley’s message will help others find their way out of their own traps in life.
To learn more, call 803-534-1199.