NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WFXG) - The First Providence Baptist Church held their 35th Pastoral Appreciation Celebration Banquet at the North Augusta Municipal Building on Friday, Sept. 13. At the banquet, Reverend Dr. Alexander Pope, Jr., and most of the congregation present were surprised to find out he was getting a special honor: a proclamation from Mayor Bob Pettit and a key to the city.
Reverend Pope said, “My very first thought was, 'Are you serious?” It was all planned by a group of church leaders. Angela Broadwater said, “We’ve been busy running all week trying to get stuff done, and keep it from him.” Even though they told the reverend’s wife, he had no idea what was planned. “It’s very deserving for him and if we could do more for him, we’d like to. He’s been the longest pastor at our church for 35 years,” said Broadwater.
The reverend said it means the world to be honored like that. He said, “No one can ever use words to explain what it means and how it feels to be appreciated as pastor of this church and these wonderful people.” Overall, the key is a symbol of trust and respect that mimics a man who’s served the community with those same attributes for over three decades. Mayor Pro Tem, David McGhee, explained, “It is an open door policy for Mr. Pope, Reverend Pope and all the things he has done for this community, and that’s what we are saying. We are saying, yes, you are a master of this city, and we appreciate everything you have done.”