Cranford retires after 37 years - in same church
January 5 2002 by C. Oland Summers , Special to the Biblical Recorder

Cranford retires after 37 years - in same church | Saturday, Jan. 5, 2002

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2002

Cranford retires after 37 years - in same church

By C. Oland Summers Special to the Biblical Recorder LINCOLNTON - Charles N. Cranford retired from Salem Baptist Church of Lincolnton after serving the church from Aug. 23, 1964 to Aug. 23, 2001, a 37-year tenure. As Cranford finished his active pastorate, the church celebrated with him and his wife, Janet. Hundreds of church members, people who were saved and baptized under his ministry, family, friends and dignitaries gathered to wish him well. These also included men he helped to ordain, missionaries, ministers of music and staff under his leadership.

Bob Wise, South Fork Baptist Association Director of Missions, presented Cranford with a plaque recognizing his service to the association, including three terms as moderator. Others offered words of encouragement and blessing, along with additional gifts and recognitions.

The moderator for the event called it a "love feast."

How did a church and a pastor stay together for 37 years? Wise said, "Of all the mentors I have had in the ministry, Charles has taught me so much about giving. Giving myself, my money and my interest, not in hopes of repayment but because it is the godly thing to do. I can truthfully say that I know no better Christian gentleman nor servant of Christ than Charles Cranford."

Others said he taught the church to give by his own example as a "giving man" who ministered to his flock, knew everyone by name, and consistently brought messages that were fresh, to the point and discerning.

John McLeod, who was on the search committee that recommended Cranford in 1964, and who served as chairman of the deacons for many years during Cranford's ministry, said, "Charles was a good administrator, was completely dedicated to the church. He considered the Bible the inerrant word of God and based his teaching and preaching on that word."

Locally, Cranford led the church in Christian and prison ministries in Lincoln County, and broadcast services over the local cable outlet. He led mission trips to West Virginia, Mexico, Arizona, and for the last 15 years went to India annually for three-week crusades.

He was also commended for showing very little partiality as he led the church body, living up to his and the church's motto: 'A Going Church for a Coming Lord.'

Cranford's pastorates covered 44 years in five churches. Prior to Salem, he served the Sandy Run Baptist Church and Hortons Baptist Church in Roxobel, and the May Memorial Baptist Church and Muddy Creek Baptist Church in Powhatan, Va.

Cranford remains available for interim and supply work.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Oland Summers is interim minister of music at Salem Baptist Church.)

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1/5/2002 12:00:00 AM by C. Oland Summers , Special to the Biblical Recorder | with 0 comments
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