Pastoral ministry in today’s complex social system is a demanding and difficult calling.
The Rev. DR. Henry P. Davis, of St Paul Baptist Church in Atlantic Highland, N.J. is retiring after forty blessed years in ministry. A retirement celebration on Saturday afternoon was attended by a huge assembly in the grand ballroom of Eatontown's Sheraton Hotel. The Master and Mistress of Ceremonies were Rev. Davis' two adult children: Rev. Dr. Henry P. Davis, III , Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Highland Park, Maryland; and the Honorable Susan D. Wigenton, U.S. Federal District Judge in Newark.
A busload of people from his son's church in Maryland attended, to include Dr. Donald Warner, formerly of Red Bank. Officials from many churches and organizations---such as the NAACP, Brookdale Community College, New Brunswick Theological Seminary--spoke about his diligent service to God's people and our beloved community. U.S. Congressman, the Honorable Frank Palone, Jr. gave a glowing (and humorous) tribute to Rev. Davis.
The celebration also included an endearing song sung by his son and daughter, and also a hilarious skit depicting a so-called typical (uproarious) worship service at St Paul Baptist Church. Throughout the four hour program, First Lady Dolores R. Davis joined in with her characteristic grace and beauty.
The Anniversary and Retirement booklet included messages from U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Governor Chris Christie, President of the New Jersey Senate, Stephen M. Sweeney, et al. Also, a written message from President Barack H. Obama was shared on a huge wall-screen.
Reverend Davis will be missed at St Paul Baptist Church where his tenure lasted 40 years, and he will also be missed by hundreds of people in the surrounding communities. His charismatic personality--to include a fervent faith in the redeeming power of God, a warm and positive attitude, an affectionate and kindly spirit, a ready sense of humor, a boisterous laugh, and ongoing heart-felt prayers-- will be long remembered. Finally, Rev Davis' prophetic voice for justice and righteousness, and his pastoral love for people of all ranks, is his rich and abiding legacy. To God be the glory.