After nearly three years without a pastor, the congregation of St. John’s Baptist Church in Wilmerding welcomed their new first family, Rev. Samuel Giles and his wife, Linda, at an installation service March 21.
Reverend Giles had preached at St. John’s as a guest pastor since January and “they liked me and kept calling me to come back,” he said. The former associate pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church on the North Side, said he was content there, but is happy to lead the St. John’s congregation.
|NEW FIRST FAMILY—The new pastor and first lady of St. John’s Baptist Church, Wilmerding, are Pastor Samuel Giles III and his wife, first lady Linda L. Giles.
The new first family of St. John’s plans to get busy quickly. “We plan to do some healing within the church congregation and then branch out to see what the community’s needs are,” Rev. Giles said. “Since the church has been without a pastor for two and a half years, it’s going to take some time to get used to the congregation and have them get used to me.” Rev. Giles hopes to get the church back to the stature it achieved in the past.
The small (about 20 members, 11 actually active) congregation is excited about what Rev. Giles has in store for them. They are looking forward to watching the church grow. “I just hope he will handle the gospel like the Lord wants it handled. All he has to do is preach the word, that’s what we need,” said a 90-year-old member who has attended the church for 75 years.
Using Acts 20:17 for his sermon, Rev. Lacy Richardson, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, outlined what the Apostle Paul told the congregation at Ephesus, where he had served for three years, before leaving on his ministry to Jerusalem.
Reverend Richardson said Paul told the Ephesians that he did not hold back anything. He had warned them and told them the truth. He preached the unadulterated word of God. “This is a message for all preachers to live by and as we look to this message,” Rev. Richardson said. “I want you to know that Paul’s message is something that all of us can benefit from. The word or God reaches beyond denominations, color and all obstacles because it is the word of Truth and truth is able to cut deep down.”
Also from Metropolitan, Rev. Andrew Cooper gave the Charge to the Minister, urging Rev. Giles to “keep the church pure by being pure yourself.” He said you cannot preach one thing and do another. “As long as you walk with the Lord, you are able to do all things; you can say whatever you want to say. If you do that God will be with you, if you don’t God will turn his back on you,” he said. Reverend. Cooper said another thing Paul displayed in his ministry was love. “And Brother Preacher,” he told Rev. Giles, “You need to understand that when love dies, the church dies. If there is no love in the church then the church begins to die.”
Reverend Cooper continued saying that if God is not in the church there is no love. “God is love and all of those who love God would show love.” He told Rev. Giles to remember who it is he’s working for. “You are not laboring for these people. You need to keep in mind who you work for. God your father is who you answer to.” he warned.
Ending his charge, Rev. Cooper admonished Rev. Giles to “preach, preach, preach.”
Reverend Alvin Berkely of Liberty Baptist Church in Braddock, Pa., sent forth charges for the church. He told them not expect perfection from Rev. Giles. He urged them to have patience as Rev. Giles comes to know his ministry. “You have a good man in Rev. Giles. A good man is hard to find. You have a humble man, one who says he doesn’t know it all nor does he have all the answers, but he knows someone who does—a man named Jesus, and he can work it out.”
He told the congregation that it will take time for them to get used to Rev. Giles as it will take time for him to come to know the congregation. Reverend Berkely said they may not always see eye-to-eye on everything but things will work out. Lastly, he admonished the congregation to go to Rev. Giles if they had a grievance against him. “I say bring it to him before you tell someone else. Do him that favor. Things will work out a whole lot better and we can keep down some of that mess that Satan will try to stir up,” he said. “Strive together working for the things of God. Let God bless this house and let the community know that there is a Balm in Gilead, St. John’s Baptist Church.”
Before being prayed over by the attending pastors, Rev. Giles stood in pulpit overcome with emotion. After regaining his composure, he was able to tell the church how humbled and overwhelmed he was. He thanked the Metropolitan family for their support. “I may not physically be there with you, but the spirit has not left the building,” he told his friends from Metropolitan.
Reverend Giles said the most enjoyable thing about being in the ministry is worshiping the Father. “I enjoy worshiping God and I enjoy watching people transform from being bound and stiff to coming into a relationship with God and seeing how wonderful He is and how he can set people free.” He added that there is nothing better than planting the seed, watering it and then watching God add the increase.
Expressing true gratitude, Rev. Giles said he is thankful to God that he has given his family the opportunity to do His work in the vineyard of Wilmerding and the surrounding area. He called it an awesome privilege and honor to be called by God to do something for him.
Reverend Giles accepted the call to the ministry in 1980 and worked under the direction of the late Rev. David Armstead at Miracle Church of God in Christ in Aliquippa, Pa. He was later led to Metropolitan Baptist Church where he has served as an associate minister and youth spiritual adviser. Reverend Giles is the founder of Love A Motivating Force Outreach Ministry, motivating lives though the word of God. This program can be seen on Comcast channel 21 and on Verizon FIOS channel 47. He is also the founder of “Men Anointed Victorious, Effective and Nurturing” men’s ministry assisting adult males in becoming productive citizens through Christ. He studied at the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry through Geneva College, and completed a certified online course through Liberty University’s Home Bible Institute. He is an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wife have five children and seven grandchildren.
He and his wife said they want their neighbors in Wilmerding to know that there is a man and woman of God in the lower Mon Valley who have the word from God and they will be looking to teach and preach the Word of God. “We will be going out into the area and finding out what the needs are and hope to meet them with God’s help, Rev. Giles said. “We will do some seed planting and let God do what he does to make it grow.”