WOW! Who would have thought forty-four years ago that we would have been at this time at this place. Here we are celebrating forty-four years of Pastorial Ministry. This is certainly a time of reflection and thanksgiving. The year is 1973, Richard M. Nixon has been reelected to a second term as President of the United States. Unemployment is 5.5%, and I am an Associate Minister (we were called “local preachers” then) at Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church. And, let me quickly add, Odessa and I were quite content with the status quo. (Is it not just like God to disrupt the status quo and to move us out of our place of comfort and away from the familiar?)
The Rev. C.L. Miller was the Pastor here at FMBC and he asked this “local preacher” to conduct services in his absence. When this Pastor and family came to the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on the second Sunday in May, 1973, so began a forty-four year walk with God and His people. I will resist the impulse to wax eloquent in describing the highs and the lows in leading the people of God and simply say, for forty-four years God has been faithful. For forty-four years, Pastor and people, collectively, have been on a journey.
During this journey, we have at some time or another, witnessed all of life’s experiences. In every circumstance and in every experience of life, God has been faithful. Friendship Baptist Church is the Lord’s Church. I thank God for the concept of stewardship. Hear the Word of God, this Pastor has claimed this Word. Deuteronomy 29:9 “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.”
Forty-four years and the best is yet to come (1 Corinthians 2:9)