Pastor steps down after 26 years
CATAWBA – The Rev. Loraine Taylor is stepping down as pastor of Grace Assembly of God in Catawba after 20 years of ministry in that community.
“I have been passionate about my pastoral work both in the community as well as here at the church, and I am confident the church will continue to do well,” said the pastor, who explained she had been considering her future ministry for awhile. “For the past three years I have been sensing in my spirit the Lord bringing my tenure here to a close.”
The Rev. Taylor’s last service at Grace Assembly will be Sunday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. The congregation will hold a covered dish dinner at 4 p.m. that afternoon to celebrate her ministry not only to the people of Catawba but to those she has served in neighboring communities as well as the district.
This celebration is open to all who would like to come.
She said the Lord called her to preach at the age of 21 and told her, “If you will preach my word, newborn babies will be born into the kingdom of God,” she said. Following the Lord’s instructions, she planted her first church, the Church of God of Prophecy on Keffer Road in 1985 and remained there for six years until the Lord spoke to her again telling her it was time to plant another church.
She again answered God’s call, and after furthering her education, she established Grace Assembly of God in 1991 with only 16 members.
“We bought the old mill the Baptists were using along with a-half acre of land,” she explained.
“There was so much work to be done that we completely gutted the building and renovated it from the bottom up. I knew it was the location God had instructed me to build on because he had given me a word some ten years earlier.”
By 1999 the congregation had completely outgrown the small church, and members were able to purchase the adjoining 10-acre tract to build a larger facility. Most of the work was done by volunteers, the pastor said.
“We were blessed to have help from Mobilization and Placement Service, MAPS, a missions department of the Assemblies of God.” Of note, the group that came were recreational vehicle owners who saw their beginning in the building of churches in Alaska in the 50s and have since helped put up churches all over the country.
“These people worked tirelessly until the church was finished,” Rev. Taylor said. “Some would come and stay for weeks while others would leave and come back whenever they had some time.”
The church members moved into the new building on Rt. 311 in 2003, and today the church has a membership of about 150. The old church is used for Sunday school classes for the kids and houses the food pantry.
In addition to pastoring Grace Assembly of God she has served on the Presbytery for the last 8 years as a section presbyter and currently serves as executive presbyter, a position which she will continue to hold.
“It’s been a great 26 years, and while I am resigning my pastorate, I’m not by any means resigning my ministry or friendships,” she pointed out. “My love and compassion for the church and community will always remain strong.”