- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Rev. Joel Davis knows how to celebrate a birthday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1FfFtc9 ) reports that Davis returned Easter Sunday to Grace Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, a church he founded 59 years ago. Making the day even more special: Sunday was Davis’ 100th birthday.

The small church may not be there much longer. City officials want to tear it down in hopes of luring the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to relocate there. The federal government is deciding between the north St. Louis site and three others in the region to relocate the spy agency from its site near Anheuser-Busch in south St. Louis.

About 50 people showed up to help Davis celebrate his birthday. He preached for about 20 minutes, looking and acting much younger than his age.

“Thank you for life itself,” he said.

Then, suddenly, he stopped.

“Excuse me,” he explained, “I’m going to stop preaching. I feel like singing.”

He broke out into a verse of “Little Wooden Church on the Hill,” his voice resonant and strong. His son, the current pastor, played the piano. Judah, 5, a son of the younger Rev. Davis, played the drums. “Amens” filled the church.

Ernestine Bates grew up near the church in the 1960s. She remembers a neighborhood filled with families, children and homes. That changed after the city famously demolished the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in 1976.

“Rev. Davis was an awesome man,” she said. “He took time to counsel us as children and tell us right from wrong. Families had a place to come to when they needed help.”

___

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide