Fayetteville and Cumberland County area residents are mourning the death of a longtime pastor who dedicated decades of his life to loving the area.
Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church officials announced the death of the Rev. John D. Fuller on Sunday.
Fuller was pastor of the church for 42 years, until his retirement in late 2015.
“All of his hard work and dedication for Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and the community will never be forgotten,” the church’s Facebook page stated Sunday night. “Please keep him and his family in your prayers.”
In a statement, North Carolina Sen. Ben Clark said Fuller was a “pastor, mentor and friend to many,” including Clark’s own family.
“From my youth, I remember Dr. Fuller preaching at the ‘old’ Lewis Chapel Church, the small white, wooden building near the current location,” Mr. Clark said.
Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said Fuller’s death is “a tremendous loss for the community.”
“He was an iconic figure and a true servant at heart,” Mr. Colvin said. “His contributions to this city and to the faith community will be enjoyed for years to come.”
During his retirement in December 2015, the Rev. Fuller, when then was age 69, told The Fayetteville Observer his journey to Fayetteville and Lewis Chapel started with Jones Grove, a small country church in Thomson, Georgia. His father, Leon Fuller, was a farmer and a deacon in the church
John D. Fuller first official sermon was at the age of 17, and he’d preach at neighboring churches, outdoor events or the front porches of people’s houses, the Rev. Fuller once said.
When he was drafted into the Army in the late 1960s, the Rev. Fuller was ordered to go to South Korea and later assigned to Fort Bragg.
While stationed on Fort Bragg, he was asked to fill in at Baptist Union, a small church in Gray’s Creek, which needed a new pastor.
He alternated weekends preaching at Baptist Union and another church known as Beauty Spot.
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SOURCE: The Fayetteville Observer, Rachael Riley