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Clairton congregation shows appreciation for pastor's 48 years

| Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, 12:00 p.m.

Although the Rev. William C. Callaway has been pastor of Mt. Olive First Baptist Church in Clairton for 48 years, he feels like he just got started in the ministry.

"I feel renewed," Callaway said. "My ministry is given to me by God. I love people. I love to see people's lives change and see people come to Christ."

In celebration of his more than four decades of service, Callaway's congregation honored him last week, culminating with anniversary services at the church. Other festivities included a musical tribute concert at The Grand Theatre in Elizabeth, featuring many of Callaway's favorite local gospel singers.

"I have always felt that pastors are overworked and underpaid," said Pamela Kelley, who has been a member of Mt. Olive for 23 years and a member of the pastor's anniversary committee for 20.

"Just think about it: What other job would expect you to be an accountant, advocate, counselor, doctor, mentor, orator and teacher on call 24/7 for minimal wages• The very least we can do is to show our appreciation one time a year for all of his sacrifice on our behalf."

Callaway became pastor of Mt. Olive in November 1962. During his first year, he paid off the church's mortgage, purchased and paid for a new parsonage and paid for improvements made to the church on Sixth Street.

Callaway since has added an educational wing, and the sanctuary and dining hall have received updates. Recent changes include the purchase of two vans and the creation of a youth ministry and soup kitchen.

There are 300 families attending the church.

Callaway has accomplished a lot, but he says he's not finished.

"I hope to enlarge the Sunday school and increase the membership of the church," he said. "I want the church to go from membership to discipleship. ...There are so many people nowadays that are not saved."

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