Dr. Croom retires

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 18, 2005

AHOSKIE – Sunday afternoon was filled with tears and hugs.

After more than fourteen years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, Dr. Jesse J. Croom is retiring.

The church held a special worship service and a reception on Sunday to celebrate Dr. Croom’s 40 years of ministry.

Following the worship service, church members filled the fellowship hall to say good-bye to their pastor and exchange hugs.

Reverend Anita Thompson, Minister of Family Enrichment at the First Baptist Church, described Dr. Croom as a &uot;the definition of integrity&uot; and a &uot;wonderful person&uot;.

Under Croom’s leadership, members of the church were involved in mission trips to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and to New York City following 9/11.

&uot;Dr. Croom played a major role in the church becoming involved with Operation Inasmuch&uot;, added Thompson.

First Baptist in Ahoskie began working with Operation Inasmuch in 1999. The program involves members of the church spending a day performing community service work and now involves several churches in the community.

Following changes in the national structure of the Southern Baptist Convention in the early 1990’s, &uot;Dr. Croom helped lead the First Baptist Church in Ahoskie to appoint a denominational relations study committee,&uot; added Thompson.

This led to the church joining the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

&uot;My fourteen years is a wonderful tribute to the members of this church, especially considering the average tenure of pastors these days is less than two years,&uot; said Croom.

First Baptist of Ahoskie has a &uot;long tradition&uot; of ministers staying for significant periods of time and &uot;has only had six ministers in the past 80 years,&uot; according to Croom.

&uot;I will miss the relationships the most,&uot; Croom added.

&uot;There is a wonderful community of faith and ecumenical spirit in Ahoskie. The churches here cooperate and accomplish wonderful things,&uot; Croom continued.

Dr. Croom’s next destination is Edenton and his immediate goals are to spend more time with his family and take a break from the busy schedule of a minister.