'Seeds from Sower' founder dies

Michael Guido, who founded a radio and TV ministry that spread the Christian message across the globe and drew thousands of visitors each year to the small town of Metter, Ga., died Saturday at Candler County Hospital. He was 94.

Dr. Guido broadcast his Seeds From the Sower radio program from Metter, population 3,800, for more than 50 years. The Sower Ministry's programs are aired on 423 radio stations and 94 TV stations, according to the ministry's Web site. A print ministry mails monthly sermon series to 33,000 addresses and prints more than 1.5 million pieces of literature annually. A column, also titled Seeds From the Sower, is published in 1,300 newspapers.

The ministry is also known for Guido Gardens, a Metter landmark that draws about 50,000 visitors a year. The gardens were designed by Augusta landscape architect Roger Davis.

Each December an event now known as the Nights of Lights attracts more than 40,000 people to the gardens, where Jesus' birth is celebrated with about 2 million lights and dozens of displays.

Dr. Guido began his ministry in his native Ohio after attending a Baptist revival service when he was 19. He said that he was touched by the message of a loving God, not a fear of hell, and he enrolled soon after at a Bible college in Chicago.

He eventually moved his ministry to Metter. In 1957, while his wife, Audrey, was recovering in a hospital from a car accident, the Guidos noticed a lack of Christian radio programming. With donations and support from friends, they began recording sermons and short meditations, offering them free to area stations.

"Audrey, let us promise God we will never ask for money over the air, mail or in person. 'Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you,' " Dr. Guido recalled telling his wife in a 2005 interview with The Chronicle.

Linda Macky, of North Augusta, was among those who were touched by Dr. Guido.

"I celebrate his life with joy in my heart as I recall the difference he made in my life as I grew up hearing his messages and then later to come to know him," she said in an e-mail to friends Sunday. "The seeds that he planted in so many hearts have made such a wonderful difference in so very many lives I am sure."

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the ministry's gardens on Georgia Highway 121 in Metter. Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at the gardens. Kennedy Morgan Brannen funeral home in Metter is in charge of arrangements.

Morris News Service reports were used in this article.

Reach Bill Norton at (706) 823-3341 or bill.norton@augustachronicle.com.