After forty-four years in the pulpits around Alabama and Florida providing spiritual leadership and service, Pastor Hosea Montgomery of Bethlehem United Missionary Baptist Church celebrated his 29th year retirement from his pastorship. Beginning Thursday April 14th through Sunday April 17th, the Sunday service was filled with his children playing significant roles in the final day of celebration. There were family and friends from Pensacola to Beatrice, Alabama that joined his congregation as well as his ministerial friends as Rev. Montgomery took his final bow as Pastor of Bethlehem United Missionary Baptist Church.
In the retirement service with the theme: “Fought, Finished, and Kept the Faith” emceed by his youngest daughter, Christal Montgomery; a gospel solo of the song “Worth” brought by his daughter Sherron Thames, and the message brought by his son, Rev. Darold Montgomery, Pastor Montgomery was showered with family love and pride during the service.
With Dr. Michael Johnson, the Pastor of Sixth Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, as the Pulpit Conductor, Christal Montgomery kept the pace of the service moving while acknowledging those family and friends from out of town and at one point yielding to the younger brother, Larry Montgomery to give his well wishes to his older brother’s retirement. However, it was Rev. Darold Montgomery who clearly depicted the “preaching talent” flowing through the veins of the family with his message on the theme of “Fought, Finished, and Kept the Faith!”
Darold Montgomery preached his message, “My dad told me sometime last year that he believed that it was time for him to step aside. He said that his plan was to retire from pastoring after his 80th birthday. And I believe that somewhere housed in that word retire, was my dad saying, like Paul, I’ve finished my course. And beloved, I believe that Pastor Montgomery knew for some time now that this finish was coming, and that it was unavoidable, because ‘father time’ has a way of tapping all of us on the shoulder and letting us know when it’s time to pull the trigger and let it go. The reality is, that all good things must come to an end”.
Christal Montgomery told the Pensacola Voice that, “I was honored when my dad asked if I wouldn’t mind being the Mistress of Ceremony for his Pastoral Retirement Program. He said he wanted his children and grandchildren to be on the program. We started on this long journey with my dad 44 years ago; my dad started out Pastoring at Mt. Mariah #2 Baptist Church in Haynesville, AL right outside of Montgomery, a church in Awin, Ala.; Sprott, Ala.; Greenville, Ala.; the historic John the Baptist Church; New Faith Missionary Baptist Church; and Bethlehem Baptist Church all in Pensacola, FL. This has been an interesting journey!”
Rev. Montgomery in his retirement address to his church stated, “As the Lord has blessed this church, and has blessed his humble servant to reach the age of eighty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through much prayer my service here as Pastor of Bethlehem United has come to an end. Yes, under a deep cloud of sorrow, with profound grief and regret, it was not easy for me to make this decision after serving you for these many years. I’m confident however, that God is well pleased, and your next leader can and will take this church to a higher level in the works of the Lord”.