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Pleasant Valley’s Doss celebrates 40 years of ‘sweet fellowship’comment (0)

December 18, 2008

By Scott Bush

The typical Alabama Baptist pastor has been serving his congregation for three and a half years.

But Horace Doss is no typical pastor. 

On Nov. 11, Doss celebrated his 40th anniversary as pastor of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Bessemer, in Bessemer Baptist Association.

Church members use words like “faithful” and “compassionate” to describe their pastor, who they say has “never wavered or faltered” in his preaching or his care for them.

“He’s the most dedicated pastor I’ve ever known,” said Sarah Payton, a member of Pleasant Valley Baptist since 1980. “He’s a good preacher. He sticks to the Word and lives what he preaches.”

Payton, the second of three generations of her family to sit under the ministry of Doss at the church, is especially grateful for his care for the bereaved. “He’s done funerals for my family and for so many others, and he’s always so kind and comforting.”

She and others are also quick to comment on a hallmark of Doss’ pastoral work: his visitation ministry.

And it’s not just church members who receive this ministry, according to Linda Piper, church clerk at Pleasant Valley and Doss’ secretary since 1976. Friends, relatives and neighbors, whether homebound, hospitalized or just in need of a friendly call, can expect to see Doss with a kind word and heartfelt prayer.

Doss served brief pastorates at several churches before coming to Pleasant Valley, including a mission that eventually became Forestdale Baptist Church. Then in the fall of 1968, when he was working as the associate pastor of Union Baptist Church, Bessemer, the call came for him to go into pastoral service again.

“I had made up my mind that I liked staff work and I wasn’t going to pastor ever again,” Doss recalled. “One day, my pastor came to me and asked if I would consider going to Pleasant Valley. I was happy where I was, but on my first Sunday (at Pleasant Valley), I felt that I had been here all my life.”

The position was bivocational in the beginning. He prepared sermons and cared for his flock on weekends and between shifts at Woodward Iron Co., but in 1971, the church asked him to be its full-time pastor. Since then, Doss has gained a reputation with his church members and fellow ministers as a tireless servant of the Lord.

Ed Cruce, director of missions for Bessemer Association, called him a dear friend and “consummate pastor.” “He’s everything you look for — a great preacher who loves his people,” Cruce said. “His wife is a wonderful help meet (helpmate) in the ministry as well. Carol is a talented pianist and a devoted Sunday School teacher. They’re a great team.”

Pleasant Valley celebrated its pastor’s milestone with a special day of appreciation Nov. 2. Doss’ son David, a lay minister from Hayden, preached that morning and then presented his father with a plaque honoring his four decades of ministry.

The service was followed by a luncheon, complete with gifts and expressions of gratitude from the congregation.

“It’s a sweet fellowship here,” Doss said, reflecting not only on the day but also on the years spent with his beloved church family. “They named this place right when they called it Pleasant Valley.”

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