ST. PETERSBURG — This has been a year of celebrations for Faith Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. The congregation celebrated its 50th church anniversary in March, which was closely followed by celebrating the third pastoral anniversary of Pastor Robert A. Vinson, Jr. in April.
The theme for the occasion was “Three Years of Pastoring, Preaching, and Teaching, with Purpose, Passion, and Power.”
The observance took place over three days with tributes, worship and praise. The celebration began on April 24 with a Wednesday night worship service with Pastor Louis Murphy Sr. and the congregation of Mt. Zion Progressive Baptist Church joining Pastor Vinson and the Faith congregation for a night filled with songs and spirit-filled preaching.
The observance on Friday, April 26 was an evening of entertainment honoring Pastor Vinson, and was filled with comedy, laughter, tributes, and music from members of Faith, as well past mentors and friends. Among those paying tribute to him and First Lady Tiffani Vinson were his mother and sister.
His childhood pastor and one of his fathers in the ministry, Rev. Don A. Gaskin, Sr., pastor of New Philadelphia Community Church, Rev. Alvin Miller of Bethel Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Vinson’s uncle, Pastor Clarence E. Taylor, Jr. of the New Omega Christian Assembly in Newark, Del., also joined the celebration.
The evening also included an expression of love and admiration from the youngest members of the Faith family– the Youth Church who sported t-shirts with a picture of their beloved pastor. The celebration culminated with a morning worship service on Sunday, April 28 with the message delivered by Senior Pastor Dr. Rickey L. Houston of Bethel Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
Pastor Vinson came to Faith following the death of Rev. Dr. Bragg L. Turner in 2014, who served at Faith for more than 40 years. The church conducted a pastoral search that lasted for more than a year before electing Pastor Vinson in February 2016.
The church has seen growth in the past three years, welcoming several new members, the establishment of new ministries, and increased community outreach through activities on FAITH LAND such as the recently held Deacons Community Fellowship and the now bi-annual Women’s Ministry Clothes Closet which makes available free clothes to anyone in need. The church is continually seeking new ways to evangelize to the surrounding community. Pastors Vinson’s vision is to grow people through the word of God.