A Calgary pastor and Elvis Presley fan is disappointed with, but not all shook up over, the Presley estate’s attempt to fight the name of his church that’s designed as a nod to the King of Rock and Roll.
Rev. Bruce Elvis Sheasby, better known as “The Reverend Elvis,” has been preaching in a church he’s named “Your Grace Land” for more than 20 years. He even incorporates some of Presley’s songs into his services.
For the last three years, Sheasby has been in a trademark battle with Presley’s estate, Elvis Presley Enterprises, concerning the name of his church. “Graceland” happens to be the name of Presley’s former home and a major tourist attraction in Memphis, Tenn.
“I've separated the word ‘Graceland’ into two separate words and I've added ‘Your’ before it,” Sheasby told CTV Calgary.
“I don't hide the fact that there is a connection that I have with Elvis, but people when they hear my message, ‘Your Grace Land,’ understand that it’s to draw people to God’s grace.”
Elvis Presley Enterprises deposed Sheasby on Monday, what would have been Presley’s 83rd birthday. Sheasby is choosing to represent himself and his church in the legal proceedings.
“I’m saddened by it, actually,” said Sheasby. “I told the lawyer that I have a deep love and respect for Elvis Presley and I have no desire to be in a battle with Elvis Presley Enterprises, but at the same time I have a higher calling.”
Sheasby hopes the company will soon understand they serve different purposes and ultimately, serve different kings.
“They're selling souvenirs -- other things -- drawing people to (Graceland),” he said. “I, through my words and music and message, am drawing people to God’s grace.”
Elvis Presley Enterprises didn't return a call and email from CTV Calgary for comment.
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Chris Epp