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Thomas Clatterbuck

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Last Sunday, Rev. Samuel Hale Jr. retired as pastor of Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Springfield. Hale had served in that position for 34 years. Hale’s final sermon drew on Samuel 24, and the importance of choosing what God wants when you come to a crossroads in your life.

During the service, State Senator Andy Manar (D-48) and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder delivered proclamations for Hale and his contributions to Springfield. After the service, the church held a reception to celebrate Rev. Hale’s career. More than 120 people came out to share their stories and reflect on their time with Hale.

Rev. Hale had an incredible impact on both his church and his community. Both during the service and the following reception, fellow pastors and members from the wider Springfield community spoke on how Hale had touched their lives. Church leaders from Alton and Jacksonville came to express their congratulations. Hale’s work in the community was also discussed by leaders of the NAACP.

Hale’s well-wishers had a great deal to mention. In addition to his 34 years as pastor of Zion Missionary, he was a founding board member of the Helping Hands shelter in Springfield, and was a director of the Phoenix Project. He was the organizing pastor of the Johenning Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Hale also played an important role in the NAACP’s “Stay-in-School, Back to School” program, as well as contributed to the “real men read” program at Washington Middle School. There are also more literary and scholarly achievements than can be listed here.

Rev. Hale will be moving to Decatur in his retirement. While his time at Zion Missionary has come to a close, Hale said, “God is not finished with me yet.”

You can watch Hale’s final service in the player above, or the reception in the player below.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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