This is the 40th year of preaching for Dr. Quinton Earl Hammond. Thirty-four of those years were spent at Antioch Baptist Church. Today, members wore black tee-shirts which boast how they feel about their beloved pastor. The shirts read, "We love our Pastor." Meanwhile, the Pastor of the church sports a tee-shirt that reads, "I love my church." Congregants wore the tee-shirts at 8 AM and 11 AM services.
Reverend Hammond's achievements are being celebrated at a black-tie Gala planned for August 8th 2014 at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham. A special "Love Day" is planned for October 5th.
"He is an awesome man of God and great worker in the City of Birmingham and throughout the community of Pratt City, "said Franchetti DeLaine in a press release. "
"It was nothing I came up with; it was something they came up with. They gave a "I love my Pastor shout-out. It was like a high school pep-rally, "said Pastor Hammonds.
Kennethy Holmes, has attended the church for 20 years. "He's taught me to love. He's taught me to forgive. I've applied all those lessons to my life, and I'm a much better person because of those things."
After 40 years of preaching and mentoring 14 ministers, is this pastor thinking about retirement? No, not just yet. "I told them when I retire, I'm just going to call one of them and say, 'Hey-I'm coming by your church today. I'm preaching!'"
Hammonds offers Bible study classes at the church, almost every day of the week. But his real joy comes from watching people's lives change for the better. Said the Pastor, "People come to see us when they are down. And to see those lives change for the better. That's very rewarding to me."