Mount Moriah celebrates longtime pastor


Shirley Whiteside worships during the service to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. F.N. Gallmon as pastor at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in southeast Gainesville.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.

Thirty years ago, the deacon board at Mount Moriah Baptist Church made it clear to a then 29-year-old preacher named Freeman N. Gallmon that they were hiring him to preach on a temporary basis while they searched for a new leader.

Facts

MOUNT MORIAH BAPTIST CHURCH

Pastor: The Rev. Dr. Freeman N. Gallmon.
Location: 718 SE 11th St.
Services: Sunday school is 9:45 a.m., followed by morning worship at 11 a.m. Noonday prayer is noon Wednesday and Bible study is 7 p.m. Thursday.
Phone: 352-372-0505.

The deacons, however, suspended their search after getting used to the Rev. Dr. F.N. Gallmon delivering the good news about Jesus Christ because he has been there ever since.

And on Sunday, the church celebrated the 30th anniversary of Gallmon as pastor of the church, the oldest black baptist church in Gainesville.

"They said to me ‘Can you just preach until we find a new pastor," said Gallmon. "And they were paying top dollar, $125 a week," he said. "I took the job and I don't know whether or not they found a pastor, but I'm still here. I want to stay now."

Parishioners clapped and filled the sanctuary with laughter after those remarks by Gallmon, who also told parishioners he is still willing now, more than ever, "to be used" by God.

The service included several inspirational songs by the church's combined choirs and an awesome message by the Rev. Lurah Bean, associate pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn. Deacon Angelo Rollins presided over the service and shared several "Did you know" facts about Gallmon.

He said Gallmon loves watching the 1960s television series "Star Trek," is very compassionate, loves reading and works hard to take care of both his natural and his church families.

Gallmon received a "Dat a boy" from Deaconess Rose Mills during the welcome and occasion. Another highlight of the service occurred when ShWanda Perry, daughter of Gallmon and his wife, Wanda Gallmon, gave a tribute to her father. Perry, who talked about how much she has grown spiritually, told parishioners they, too, should have grown spiritually in the past 30 years.

"I submit my life to Christ because I know he will never leave or forsake me. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand," she said, as her parents stood to their feet, praising God and wiping away tears simultaneously. Perry received a standing ovation at the end of her tribute and her mother expressed her pleasure.

"That's a Mount Moriah baby," said Wanda Gallmon. "When we came here, she was 3 years old. She grew up in this church."

Bean preached from I Corinthians 15:58 on the subject of "Serving the Lord Will Pay Off After While." She said the anniversary celebration was being held to honor 30 years of marriage between the Gallmons and the congregation at the church.

She began her sermon by saying the glamour of being a pastor is overrated.

"In order to be an effective pastor, you have to be wrapped up and tied up in the Lord," Bean said. She said the text of the scripture deals with Paul instructing Timothy to preach in and out of season and to not be swayed by what others wanted him to do.

She told the Gallmons to "rock steady" as leaders of the church and to let the holy spirit lead them.

"The holy spirit will keep you safe from the enemy," she said. "The holy spirit will also allow you to love those who are unlovable."

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