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Leroy McCreary to begin new journey after 43 years in pulpit

September 6, 2018

Leroy McCreary to begin new journey after 43 years in pulpit

BEREA, Ohio -- The Rev. Leroy McCreary casts a wide net when calling for people to live their faith.

A beloved minister and active community volunteer, he will retire Sept. 30 after sharing his last sermon at People’s Community Church in Berea. Having experienced 43 years in the pulpit, he called his final message a “daunting” endeavor.

“One of the wonderful, blessed things about having been at this church as pastor is that people have been just remarkable,” McCreary said. “These relationships that started way back yonder have continued all the way through. What is the takeaway for them after the years we’ve spent loving, sharing and achieving as a people of faith?”

His Berea ministry began with regular services held on the Baldwin Wallace University campus in 1975. McCreary led the way as the church eventually purchased property and built the current sanctuary on North Rocky River Drive.

The adjacent street, Wesley Drive, will receive the honorary secondary name of “Rev. Leroy McCreary Way.”

His favorite memory involves an inspiring march parishioners undertook from the college location to the new church when it opened its doors in 2003.

“The whole congregation of 75 to 80 people put on their walking shoes and came down Seminary Street, to Bagley Road, to Front Street and then crossed the railroad tracks (before the overpass was built) to Emerson Street,” McCreary recalled. “They proceeded along North Rocky River Drive to this property here. I was humbled, very thankful and happy.”

He explained why the move was important, while also sharing his reason for retiring at the end of the month.

“I felt we needed to be in the part of the city where the people had roots, where they had connections and where their homes were,” McCreary said. “It’s the right time now, because I’ve pretty much done what I set out to do in terms of establishing the congregation and moving it to the north end.”

He is an engaging, inspiring fisher of men -- and of fish.

“I do both, and I’ve been successful so far,” McCreary said, laughing heartily. “It’s easier to catch the fish.”

McCreary will retire to a home he has in South Carolina, but he said he will return to Berea each April through September to continue his mission with the young people in Berea Youth Works.

“We’re going to fish -- and keep on fishing -- everywhere,” he said.

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