CHURCH HISTORY

10. Rev. Dr. Emmett Lloyd Fleming, Sr. (1955 - 2000) - "The Builder"

    

Having served as supply minister from March to October of 1955, the Rev. Dr. E. L. Fleming, Sr. of Richmond was called to pastor Morning Star. He accepted the call but opted to work with the members and the program until the following year before being officially installed. The installation took place in April, 1956.

Rev. Fleming was educated in the Henrico Public Schools district, at Virginia Union University and at American Bible Institute. An honorary Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him through the Richmond Virginia Seminary in 1981.

s pastor, Rev. Fleming introduced, directed and implemented many innovations into the total church program. High on the list of physical accomplishments were the erections of a new edifice and the educational wing, both of which were completely furnished and paid for in 1967 and 1977, respectively. In 1976, a beautification program was established. Then, in 1979, there was the setting up of facilities for recreation: a baseball diamond and a court for basketball, volleyball and tennis.

Below is a list of renowed innovations under Rev. Fleming:

  1. induction of the Duplex Envelope system;
  2. availability of bulletins for each service that outlined the order of service and upcoming events;
  3. a typed yearly program for each family;
  4. beginning of an annual Vacation Bible School (1966);
  5. annual observances of Women's and Men's Days, which in 1981, were brought under the sponsorship of the sisterhood and brotherhood organizations;
  6. the initiation of a Board of Christian Education in 1980;
  7. the reorganization of the Youth Department;
  8. the founding of a church newspaper, The Morning Star, in 1981; and
  9. the implementation of the bus ministry

Several committees were instituted in the church program, such as Building & Grounds, the New Membership, the Look-Out, the Birthday Educational Fund and the Centennial Committees.

The dedication of babies was introduced by Rev. Fleming. The sponsoring of the Cub Scouts began under his leadership. In January 1983, the Tithing System was put into effect, using as a theme: "Tithing - God's Way of Financing His Church". Tithers began using the tithing box in January, 1984. Rev. Fleming continued to serve Morning Star in the following years until his retirement in 2000.

As a honor to Rev. Fleming for his dedicated service to the church, Morning Star named a scholarship in his honor along with his wife, known as the Dr. E. L. and Marie B. Fleming Memorial Scholarship. The current pastor, Rev. Dr. Robert L. Elliott, Jr., transformed the old sanctuary into a banquet facility and named it the E. L. Fleming Banquet Hall.


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