Mt. Olive celebrates dual anniversaries

Mt. Olive celebrates dual anniversaries
April 07
00:00 2016
Photos by Timothy Ramsey
The Mount Olive Baptist Church Dance Ministry performs an interpretative dance during the 107th church anniversary Sunday, April 3.



The congregation at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1301 C. E. Gray Drive, celebrated its 107th anniversary on Sunday, April 3. Mt. Olive has been led by Senior Pastor Charles Edward Gray for the past 37 years. The church honored him as well.

Mt. Olive was joined by Solid Rock Baptist Church for the celebration. The Rev. Waymon Monroe, a former member and associate pastor of Mt. Olive, delivered the sermon for the service.

“All of my minister training started here and Dr. Gray licensed me, trained me, and taught me,” said Monroe. “Even now he is like a mentor to me, and this is where my roots started, not only as a minister, but as a born-again Christian. He baptized me, married me, and I look to him as a father figure,” Monroe went on to say.

Mt. Olive first opened its doors in 1909 on South Ridge Avenue. The church remained there until 1954, when it relocated to its current location due to the construction of Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 52. The Rev. McQuater was Mt. Olive’s first pastor. Several pastors who progressively brought the church forward followed him.

Under the leadership of Gray, Mt. Olive has renovated the building multiple times, adding additional seating as well as a large fellowship hall.  The church has also initiated new ministries during his tenure, such as a youth department, dance ministry and a mass choir to name a few.

“It’s a special day, and after 37 years, they just come naturally and you thank God for every anniversary,” said Gray.  “I like to stay humble because success can hurt you sometimes, especially when you start relying on people and things and not on God. I always try to put God first and depend on him on a daily basis from year to year.”

During the celebration, choirs from both Mt. Olive and Solid Rock sang beautiful hymns that seemed to fill the room with energy. The anniversary committee presented Gray and First Lady Eula Gray with wonderful gifts of appreciation, followed by various members of the congregation giving cards and gifts as well.

Monroe preached an uplifting sermon titled “Don’t Miss The Shadow,” which he used to show how God uses influence to change our lives in a positive manner and shadows us in our efforts to do positive things.

Monroe said he was inspired to write his sermon because he thought about how God used Peter and he saw the same anointing in Gray.

“He has been the pastor of the same church for 37 years, and not only is he a model to other young ministers, he is a model of what it means to be faithful and committed,” Monroe said of his admiration for Gray.

After the service, both Mt. Olive and Solid Rock’s parishioners united in the fellowship hall for a prepared meal.

According to Gray, Mt. Olive plans to continue to reach out to the younger generation because he feels there is so much to take them away from the church. He said the church has to try and reach them on their level to bring them back in.

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