Rev. Smith to retire as pastor after 50 years
Nearly 50 years of leading Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and nearing 80 years old, the Rev. Charles T. Smith is assured of at least one thing.
“God has been very good to me,” said Smith, who recently announced he will officially retire in May.
Smith, who is only the fourth pastor in the church’s 137 years, said a stroke in recent years hastened his timeframe to step down.
“I had an inclination toward retirement before that happened,” Smith said. “I had not finalized when I was going to retire, but physical problems said that’s it.”
Smith’s last day as the church’s pastor is expected to be May 27, a day after his 80th birthday. The weekend also will mark his 50th year as pastor.
In 1962, Smith succeeded his father, the Rev. Dudley T. Smith, who led the church for 30 years. “I’ve been pastoring a church since I was 30 years old,” Charles Smith said. “To some extent, you can say it’s basically all I know from adulthood. I guess you’d like to do it forever but you can’t do that.”
Smith said he’s blessed to have played a vital role in the growth of Shiloh.
“We’ve been able to see this church grow from a small, limited congregation to become an organization that has really touched not only individuals but the community as a whole,” he said.
Smith, who has been active in several community organizations as pastor, wanted Shiloh to be a community church.
“I would like to think that we have had Shiloh to be a fulfillment of God’s plan for this community for a period of 137 years,” he said. “Hopefully, we will continue to touch the people that we have been able to reach.”
Among the programs Smith helped establish at Shiloh were a credit union, a day-care center and $65,000 a year in academic scholarships.
About 10 years ago, Smith was also instrumental in setting up the guidelines for a pulpit committee that would help choose his eventual successor. Smith had hoped to have more input in that decision but said his illness will probably prevent that.
Not being able to preach will be one of the toughest adjustments in retirement, Smith said. “My greatest pride in pastoral ministry is preaching the Word.”
Sports radio to gospel
Much research and talk went into the decision to change Baton Rouge radio station WSKR AM 1210 from sports talk to a contemporary gospel music format, said Bob Murphy, regional programming manager for Clear Channel Radio.
“Hallelujah 1210 AM” returned Jan. 1, replacing “The Score 1210 AM.” Hallelujah was first introduced to Baton Rouge a few years ago.
“Its previous exposure on 104.1FM had great ratings and community impact,” Murphy said. “WSKR-AM had below average ratings and carried mostly time-brokered sports programming (paid for by the sports hosts) previously. Because we have had historical success with the Hallelujah format here in Baton Rouge, it made sense to bring it back as a source of positive inspirational programming for the community.“
Hallelujah’s emphasis will be on a modern blend of contemporary and traditional music performed by mainstream and contemporary gospel artists, but the station may offer some spoken word programming on Sunday mornings in the near future, Murphy said.
“Feedback has been extremely positive and the station has already received accolades from several local churches,” said Murphy, a Baton Rouge native who has been responsible for operations management of the stations since 1997.
The Score 1210 featured 11 straight hours of local sports programming with such well-known personalities as Jordy Hultberg, Buddy Songy and Jimmy Ott.
Hallelujah 1210 AM can also be heard online at http://www.hallelujah1210.com, as well as on http://www.iheart.com/ and the iHeartRadio mobile app. Clear Channel Baton Rouge also operates 102.5 WFMF, 101.5 WYNK, 96.1 The River, 1150AM WJBO and 97.7 Downtown Radio.
Hurt in the church
Church can be a hurting place, but the Rev. Floyd Prescott III found healing from his own hurtful experience.
Prescott, pastor of Restoration Life Ministries International in Opelousas, shares his story and offers lessons on forgiveness and healing in his new book “Church Hurt: Why Is Everybody So Quiet?” (Bailey Girls Publishing LLC).
It is estimated that 28 percent of adults no longer attend church on a regular basis, which translates to about 65 million people, Prescott said.
“Statistics also tells us that approximately 37 (percent) of those unchurched individuals are that way because they have experienced a hurtful or negative situation in the church,” Prescott writes.
Prescott, 32, defines church hurt as “any form of abuse, disappointment, hurt or offense that happens either in a church setting or through a relationship that is based out of or is formed as a result of church-based connections.”
In the 118-page book, Prescott details the various issues that can cause hurt. They include fallout due to disagreement with church leadership, abuse and even racism.
Unfortunately, too many people are too quiet on issues, including victims.
“To me, we are just too quiet about this issue and lives are being lost,” Prescott writes.
And the church suffers, not just in attendance, Prescott says.
“I believe part of the reason that we are not experiencing revival to the magnitude we desire is because we have allowed too much hurt to take place in and through our churches without dealing with the situations properly.”
Prescott said hurt and pain can be helpful. “There’s something that you can take from the experience, no matter how traumatic the impact was. Just in case you have not realized by now, Jesus our Lord was murdered by church folks, for church folks.”
“Church Hurt” is an impressive and thought-provoking little book. Prescott calls for not only victims to forgive and move on but he also appeals to ministers, families of ministers to move on and those who have hurt others.
Go online to http://www.floydprescott.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Faith Matters” runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-238 or email email@example.com.