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Millington church celebrates decades of service of Pastor Samuel Ford

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Samuel Ford 3 Samuel Ford 4 Samuel Ford 7 Samuel Ford cake Samuel Ford pulpitThe last week of August is special for Samuel L. Ford.
The longtime pastor celebrates his wedding anniversary with wife Wanda and he also marks his arrival to his spiritual home of West Canaan MB Church. This past weekend the members of the church observed Ford’s 39 years as pastor of the church. Ford has spent more than half of his 61 years in ministry at the church located at 8715 Wilkinsville Road.
“At 12, my calling was the same format that of Samuel in the book of Samuel under Eli,” Ford recalled. “Receiving a call from God and what happen was I was outside playing in the driveway. I heard it as clear as day, ‘Samuel.’ I went in the house and asked my Mother, ‘Did you call me?’ She said, ‘No. Now go back out and play.’ I went out and played some more.”
Ford’s path toward leading the flock at West Canaan begin that day in Memphis hearing a voice. But he was still unsure on who was calling him.
“A few minutes later the same voice, ‘Samuel,’” Ford said. “I went in the house, ‘Yes Ma’am, you called me.’ She said, ‘No I didn’t call you.’ By that time my Dad came home from work. She had time to talk to him before I heard it again. He called me in first and told me, ‘If you hear it again, just say Thy servant hears, thy speak Lord.’ That’s when it all broke loose. ‘Go there forth into all the world and preach the Gospel.’”
Ford preached his first sermon on ‘He’s the Light of the World’ at King Solomon Baptist Church. Since then he has shared the Word in states like Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas and more.
Now the resume’ for the 73-year-old father of three reads ‘hundreds of messages delivered from the pulpit of West Canaan.’
“A lot (pastors) do drift off,” Ford said. “I believe preaching is a holy calling and pastoring is a holy assignment. And like God spoke to me at the age of 12, He hasn’t said for me to leave.
“We have a new generation from the time I came,” he added. “That early generation, I have their children and their children’s children now.”
Ford said the best parts of being at West Canaan for nearly 40 years are serving the people in the community and serving God. Working in the community, Ford has seen one issue derive over the years.
“I believe we need to come together,” he said. “We’re not as engulf in this as the city of Memphis. I haven’t had any problems with break ins. We haven’t had any problems with any type of lotting or anything of that nature. They respect the pastors in this community highly.”
Ford is one of the clergymen in Millington respected. He said all it takes is a simple approach to life and the ministry.
“After 39 years you have to walk carefully, preach what you believe and let your life reflect that,” Ford said. “You have to try to stay away from as many pitfalls as you possibly can because they’re out there.”
The strong foundation Ford has build over the years in his personal, professional and spiritual life has helped him keep solid footing in the community. Celebrating another anniversary with his church family, Ford has thought about the R-word.
“Retirement,” he said when asked what is next. “I really don’t know if that day is coming soon.
“After all of these years, according to Bible references, God uses most of His servants for 40 years,” Ford concluded. “But there’s nothing set in stone. As long as I can get along and the people can get along, I guess I’ll be here.”

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