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Pastor retires after 41 years at pulpit

Pastor Jim Orrick knows March 20 will be a special day - and not just because he turns 70 years young.

After 41 years pastoring at Storms Creek Missionary Baptist Church on State Route 93 near Ironton, Orrick will pass the torch to a younger generation when he delivers his final sermon.

"I told my family years ago that if I was blessed with good health and turned 70, I would retire," said Orrick, the soft-spoken pastor with nearly 50 years of ministering experience. "March 20th will be my birthday so that will be my final service."

For the congregation of more than 120 people, it will be a day they always remember.

"It is really a bittersweet thing. We are sad to see him go because he was a great preacher of the truth of the gospel," said Richard Walker, a member of the church for more than 27 years.For Walker, Orrick has been there his entire membership. More than just a minister, Orrick has become like family, he said.

"I think he is an upstanding man who loves to teach the word of God and has a hunger to see souls saved," he said. "He is a pastor but he is also a good friend -both he and his wife Irene. You have got to give her a lot of credit."

As a teenager Jim Orrick knew his calling in life would revolve around the Lord. By the time he turned 19-years-old, he made the decision to devote his life to ministering. He graduated from the Lexington Baptist College in Kentucky. He spent 8 years spreading the word elsewhere before being drawn to the historic church that was organized in 1814. After several moves over the years, it has been at its current location on Coryville Road since 1951.

Though not taking the pulpit will be "quite an adjustment," Orrick won't become a stranger as he and Irene, his wife of 48 years, plan to fill the pews side by side with the families they have watched grow over the years.

"We are going to stay in Ironton and attend services at Storms Creek," he said. "Naturally, (the congregation) means a great deal to us for being patient with us and for the many expressions of love given to us through the years."

Co-pastor Kenny Hurst will take over the duties, leaving the congregation in capable hands, Orrick said.

"He'll step right in as pastor. He has been groomed for it, mentored I guess. I am very thrilled he is going to be pastor," he said.

Walker agrees that Orrick's successor will be a perfect fit.

"He is a man cut from the same cloth as Jim," he said. "He is also dedicated to preaching the truth of the gospel."

The Orricks will have more time to spend with something that has always been integral to them -their family of three children and 10 grandchildren.

"In retirement, we hope to be able to spend more time with them," he said. "One of our children lives in Louisiana, one in Mississippi and the other in Louisville, Kentucky."

But no matter he goes, he will always have those 41 years of memories to carry with him.