Celebrating 40 years behind pulpit

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

Jim and Irene Orrick came to Storms Creek Missionary Baptist Church more than 40 years ago and have been there ever since.

Last month, Jim Orrick celebrated his 40th year of pastoring the church. Sitting in the church Thursday with his wife of nearly 47 years, he had the chance to reflect on the past and also look toward the future.

"Not in our fondest dreams did we ever think I'd be here 40 years," he said.

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Storms Creek Missionary Baptist was organized in 1814. After several moves over the years, it has been at its current location on Coryville Road since 1951.

"I am very grateful for God giving us such loving and wonderful people to work with for the last 40 years," Jim said of the congregation that has grown to include approximately 135 members.

After 76 years at the church, Ironton resident Edna Bowman is the oldest member. The 91-year-old has had the opportunity to get to know Jim Orrick well.

"I think he is a fine man. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him and heard him preach," she said. "He has done a lot to help the church. He gives the people the gospel."

Jim Orrick was only 19 years old when he made the decision that he wanted to devote his life to the Lord. He graduated from the Lexington Baptist College in Kentucky.

"I was saved when I was 15 and wanted to do something in Christ's work, either as a singer or in youth ministries, but that wasn't enough," he said. "After much prayer and soul searching, I felt it was the Lord's will for me to enter the ministry."

During his time with the church, Jim has preached at hundreds of revivals, baptisms and funerals. He has seen the church increase its contribution to various mission works and been able to visit the Holy Land three times.

After 40 years, both the Orricks have countless fond memories.

"When we came here our daughter was six, our son was three. There were some young people in the church that were the same age including two twins," Irene said "Now, one of them is a grandmother. It is gratifying to see the young people grow up."

Jim agreed that seeing the families grow has been a special part of his job.

"I have baptized three generations," he said. "I baptized them, their children and now their grandchildren."

Looking forward, Jim is not ready to talk retirement yet, but he has given his family, which includes three children and 11 grandchildren, a tentative date.

"It is not as far away as it used to be," he said. "I still might change my mind. I have changed it before."