A warm Neighbors in Religion salute goes out to the Rev. Dr. C.P. Preston, Jr, who is celebrating "26 Years of Faithful Service," as the spiritual leader of the congregation at Peaceful Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 2400 NW 68th St. Celebration services for the popular pastor will be held throughout October.
A graduate of Miami Carol City High School, Preston earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Florida Memorial University. While at the university, he was listed in the National Social Register of Prominent College Students and Graduates. After graduation, he became a classroom teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, a job he held for 11 years, before he was called to be the sixth pastor of Peaceful Zion in 1986. Preston also has a master’s degree in education with certification in administration and supervision from Nova Southeastern University.
His reputation as an outgoing pastor, who enjoyed serving the community as well as his family and congregation, soon got him elected president of the Ministers’ and Deacons’ Union, Southern Division, of the Florida East Coast Baptist Association, which in 2003, led to his being elected Moderator of the Florida East Coast Missionary Baptist Association, the second largest Baptist association in the country, with 170 Churches under his leadership.
Preston has been awarded two honorary Doctor of Theology degrees from Smith Bible Chapel in 2004, and from Trinity Theological Seminary of South Florida in 2005.
He is married to the former Robyn Washington, and they are the parents of three grown children, Terrell, Clinton and Carla, and the grandparents of eight.
The anniversary celebration services will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, with the Rev. Dr. Joseph D. Turner and the congregation of New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in charge of the services.
On Sunday, the worship service will start at 9:45 a.m., with the Rev. Dr. Rodney James and the congregation of Mount Olive Baptist Church of South Miami in charge of the service.
Check out this column in the coming weeks for the times and dates of more services honoring Preston throughout the month.
Congratulations are in order, too, for the congregation at Mt. Olivette Missionary Baptist Church, which on Oct. 6 will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a Centennial Celebration Homecoming Luncheon on Oct. 6, at the Marriott Courtyard at 200 SE Second Ave. in Downtown Miami. The festivities will begin with a reception at 2 p.m. followed by a program at 3 p.m. to feature the history and nostalgia of the church and the "good ole days in Overtown".
Mt. Olivette Missionary Baptist Church was founded by the late Rev. S.A. Sampson on Oct. 12, 1912, and served as the church’s first pastor. He was a native of Nassau, Bahamas, and had settled in Coconut Grove in 1892, when Miami was just a tiny fishing village.
In 1905, Sampson organized the St. Agnes Baptist Church in Coconut Grove, where he was active in religious, civic, and fraternal organizations. His daughter Irene Sampson, would later become Dr. Irene Pratt, was the first Negro baby born in Coconut Grove in 1896.
The program will include fashions from the era of 1912 to the present, with Dorothy J. Fields, founder and historian of the black Archives Foundation of South Florida interjecting bits and pieces of history. There will also be special tributes by Deborah Rushing, Gloria Taylor, Rose Dawkins and Gwendolyn Leno. The Rev. Dr. Toni Brown, Moderator of the Atlantic Coast Missionary Baptist Association will bring special greetings to the audience. Maud P. Newbold will serve as mistress of ceremonies.