Ted Avant, minister of Waldron Street Christian Church, has retired after more than 50 years of service.
"He's meant a lot to us," said Judy Glenn, longtime member of WSCC. "Our church has benefited from his service."
Glenn's family has attended the church since the late 1970's. Her children were baptized by Avant and he also conducted her daughter's wedding.
Her fondest memory of Avant was watching him sing and interact with the children during Bible study.
"He was so animated with his motions and he had this great big smile on his face," said Glenn. "He was singing, gray squirrel...gray squirrel...shake your bushy tail."
She characterized him as a "good listener" who has had a "calming effect" on others.
"We've watched Ted and Marie and observed the way they've lived in front of us," said Glenn. "They have always been patient, kind and loving toward family and us."
Avant will be deeply missed by his congregation and friends at WSCC.
"He's a great preacher and a good man," said lifetime member, Frank Berry. "I'm sorry that he had to retire."
William McMullin, director of the Northeast Regional Library, described the pastor as a man who loves to sing.
"When leading the men of the church to the Men's Retreat in Oklahoma, he is known to sing the entire way," said long-time friend and church pianist, McMullin.
His congregation described him as a fun-loving man who's never met a stranger.
"He led youth camp for many, many years and was always active in Vacation Bible School where he taught the children songs and actions," said McMullin. "Even today, he will ask adults to join him while he makes the motions for the song "Deep and Wide".
Bro. Avant has been a dedicated preacher at Waldron Street Christian Church.
"In sickness and in health, he has done his utmost to serve the congregation because he really loves the people and cares about them physically and spiritually," said McMullin. "He continued to preach while undergoing chemotherapy in 2012 and 2013."
"Because of his health issues and family tragedies he has achieved a great empathy for those who are sick or bereaved," he added.
The director reflected on the ways that Avant has supported him in his personal endeavors.
"He encourages volunteers to use their talents for the church, which certainly included me," McMullin said. "He has supported my abilities as a volunteer pianist, teacher and story teller."
"He has been a positive influence on many people in Corinth as well as all around the country and around the globe," said McMullin. "He has been a minister who is generous with his time and supportive of those who work with him."
"Bro. Avant is a gentle man, who focuses on God's will for his life and truly wants everyone to "Shine their light and shake their salt," added the WSCC pianist.
"I've had a good time," said Avant as he reflected on his more than 30 years serving at the church. "I may be retiring, but I'll still be here."
A retirement celebration in his honor was held Jan. 19 at the church.
Without a doubt, Bro. Avant's absence at the pulpit will be felt by those who know and love him.