After 36 years, local pastor hangs up his robe

Pastor Richard C. Miller poses with his daughter Olympia Howell prior to his retirement service.

After 36 years, local pastor hangs up his robe
July 01
14:30 2020

After nearly four decades as senior pastor of The Trinity Center of Winston-Salem, Richard C. Miller Sr. officially retired during a special service held on Sunday, June 28. Miller also celebrated his 36th pastoral anniversary as well.

The decision to retire was not something Miller took lightly. He says he has been contemplating retirement for a while due to his getting up in age and health.  

“I had been thinking about it and I asked God to let me get to 80 years old and then some physical things started to set in, so I figured it was time,” said Miller Sr.  

Miller took over as senior pastor of The Trinity Center in 1984 and has seen the church transform and grow during that span.  

“When I came to this church, I didn’t have the idea of becoming pastor of this church,” he said. “The church asked me to come up to preach a few times and then they asked if I would take over as pastor and I said yes.”

The heartwarming service was filled with well wishes and fond memories of Pastor Miller’s time as pastor of The Trinity Center. The service included an original poem, a special tribute by the media ministry and pastoral history. The sermon was delivered by Miller’s son, Richard “Scooter” Miller Jr.  

Pastor Miller’s grandson, Tony Howell, gave an emotional impromptu speech about what his grandfather means to him. Following Howell’s words, there wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation.

“My grandfather has been a big part of my life since the day I was born,” said Howell. “He led by example, so nothing I said was made up, it was easy to go back and pull all of the teachings that he gave me. That’s where all the emotion came from, because it was true and real.”

Howell says he feels deep emotion when he recalls his grandfather’s time as pastor of The Trinity Center. Howell says his grandfather leaves the church in a good place, so they want to continue with the legacy he built.

“We are not going to stop working until the vision that God gave him is here,” Howell continued. “Half of it is here already, but there is still more work to do and we will do him a disservice if we stop working towards his vision. He left us in a great space, we know what to do and all we have to do now is do it.”

Miller says he feels good about the number of people he has been able to reach over the years. He says one of the most gratifying things he likes to hear is when people tell him that he has inspired them through his words, works or actions.

For Miller, he feels he lasted this long in the ministry because of his children. He says in the beginning he was not sure if this was the path for him, but once he spoke to God, the Lord inspired him to continue in his path through his children.

“God wouldn’t let me give it up,” Miller said. “My children are what has brought me this far, because I don’t think I would be here not if not for my kids.”

With all the extra time on his hands, Miller says he is currently praying to God to lead him to his next journey.  Miller routinely volunteers at the Red Cross and works out at the YMCA, but is looking to the Lord to find his next mission.

“I have been talking with the Lord now, asking him to tell me where he wants me to go,” he said. “I just don’t want to sit around the house, and if an opportunity opens up to do something, I am going to do it.”

Miller admits that he is an emotional man, so he expects to do a lot of crying during the service, he said. He said his mission was never to make a name for himself, but instead to bring more people to the Lord, which is why he says his pulpit is out on the street with the people and not inside the church.

“I call myself a people person, because what I like to do is share with people about the love of God,” he continued.  “I am not ashamed of the gospel and anything I do; I will talk about the Lord. I would say that is my calling, because it wasn’t so much me, but it was the God that is in me.”

The Trinity Center has already found a successor for Miller. His son, Joseph Alexander Miller Sr., will take over for his father and continue in his footsteps of moving the church forward in the community and Christ.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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