By Janice Taylor-Ellis,
A year ago, Reverend John E. Cameron Sr. and his wife, Lenora Woods Cameron, were honored for 50 Years of service as pastor and first lady of Greater Mt. Calvary M. B. Church. Hundreds gathered during the March 8, 2020 10:30 a.m. worship service to pay tribute to Pastor Cameron, who was called in 1970 as shepherd of the 105 year old church.
That Sunday service in 2020 was the last time the congregation worshipped together in the church’s sanctuary as later that same week, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, America came to a halt and the Mt. Calvary Family started worshiping virtually at 11 a.m. each Sunday, with a live streamed service on FaceBook and YouTube.
This year’s 51st Pastor’s Anniversary Celebration was held March 14. The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, U.S. Representative of Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, served as the guest speaker of the live-stream service. He was introduced by Beverly Hogan, past president of Tougaloo College.
Jerry and Connie Shanks-Knight served as chairpersons of the celebration. Shanks-Knight stated, “We were humbled and honored to be co-chairs of Pastor John Cameron and Mrs. Lenora Cameron’s 51st Year Anniversary.”
The theme ‘Faithfulness’ with scripture references Lamentations 3:21-21 exemplifies Pastor Cameron’s committed fifty-one years of service to Greater Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.”
Shanks-Knight said Pastor Cameron was privileged to watch the service at home virtually, followed by a small luncheon to include four guests.
She said, “We are grateful to God for the outstanding planning team that committed and dedicated their time to making this one of the best anniversary’s ever. Wow, we are also grateful for all the participants over this month of March.”
Pastor Cameron, who was elected pastor of Mt. Calvary February 13, 1970, preached his first message on the second Sunday in March, 1970. Under his leadership the church flourished and membership tripled. The church, originally located on the corner of Lynch Street and Poindexter Street, was the “church away from home” for many Jackson State students.
In 1974, his vision led him to seek a larger place of worship, and the church relocated to its present location of 1400 Robinson Street in Jackson. Already having one of the largest radio audiences, Pastor Cameron organized the television ministry. Church services, which can now be viewed throughout the state three times each Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on Comcast Channel 14, which is also JSU 23 Television, each Sunday night at 9 a.m. and each Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Comcast Channel 18.
Pastor Cameron is known as a pastor of great vision. The church’s Family Life Center, currently known as The John E. Cameron Sr. Family Life Center, was erected in 2000, and has been a driving force in bringing the church and the community together. He is a pioneer civil rights activist and worked directly with Dr. Martin Luther King on voter registration campaigns in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area. In 2010 he was honored as Pastor of the Year by Jackson Music Awards, Incorporated.
The celebration will continue throughout the entire month of March.
A Parade of Love was held in his honor, Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 11 a.m. A tent was set up in front of the Cameron’s home so that they could enjoy the festivities led by the Jackson Police Department, the Jackson Fire Department and the Hind’s County Sheriff’s Office. Many of the members turned out for what was described as a spectacular event.
Pastor Cameron was very well pleased with this year’s anniversary. He said, “This was one of the greatest events ever.”