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The love and labor of pastoring 50 years

Special to the Tri-State Defender

In January 1962, the Rev. Coleman Crawford Jr. was called to the pastorate of Grace Missionary Baptist Church.

 The Rev. Coleman Crawford Jr. has served as pastor of Grace Missionary Baptist Church for 50 years. (Photo by Tyrone P. Easley)

On January 1, 2012, designated as Celebration Sunday, members of Grace M. B. Church honored Crawford for serving as the pastor of the church for 50 years.

During his New Year’s Day morning message, Crawford chose the theme “Hitherto, the Lord hath helped us” from the book of I Samuel. Traveling down spiritual memory lane, he gave thanks to God as he spoke of his fifty years as pastor.

Crawford’s pastoral works have included baptizing hundreds who professed faith in Jesus Christ, receiving those who came by letter and Christian experience, eulogizing numerous saints and a few unsaved, presiding over a countless number of weddings, consecrating scores of babies, counseling members and couples, preaching thousands of sermons on Sunday mornings and evenings, and conducting numerous revivals.

Grace M.B.C. is anchored in the Oates Manor division of North Memphis at 1203 N. Manassas St., it’s fourth location. The current church building was constructed in 2004.

Following the morning worship service, members gathered at a reception at the church to unveil a banner depicting momentous occasions of Rev. Crawford as pastor and to share gifts of love. Among those present were members who have been with Crawford for the 50 years. They were Joy Rogers Stout, Dr. Inetta F. Rogers, Loverta Rogers Dorris, Sandra Jackson Edwards, Carl Jefferson, and the Rev. Charles Liggins. Two charter members that remain active are Oscar Jackson and Mary Jackson.  Timothy C. O. Stout, CDM, served as chair of the reception.

Crawford’s ministerial accomplishments are evident on the local, state and national levels.

On the local level, he has served as president of the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association, moderator and dean of the Union Progressive District Association and Dean in Congresses.

On the state level, Crawford has served as state president of the North Mississippi Baptist Education Convention.

And on the national level, he is a member of National Baptist Convention Board of Directors. He said he has been blessed to impart knowledge by serving as an instructor in the local, state and national Congresses, the educational arm of the denomination.

Crawford maintains his commitment to support his alma mater, The LeMoyne-Owen College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science.

His pastorate resume also includes having served 43 years as pastor of Fredonia Baptist Church in Coldwater, Miss. and eight months at Middle Baptist Church – Whitehaven.

A public celebration of Crawford’s service is scheduled for April 28 at the Hilton Hotel on Ridgelake Blvd. at 5 p.m. For more information, including tickets, call the church at 901-527-9144. The Rev. Dr. Inetta F. Rogers is chair and the Rev. Mack Holloway is co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee.


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