Rev. J.W. Lewis

The Rev. J.W. and Irene Lewis pose for a photo in 2010. Mrs. Lewis died in 2011, but Rev. Lewis continues to pastor Lewis Cathedral Church of God in Christ. The church will celebrate Rev. Lewis's 90th birthday and 66 years in the ministry on Sunday.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — Lewis Cathedral Church of God in Christ will celebrate its pastor’s 90th birthday and 66 years in the ministry at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.

Superintendent J.W. Lewis, who will turn 90 on Tuesday, Sept. 14, moved from Carrollton, Ga., in the early 1950s while following his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John Willie Lewis, to Moultrie in search of new employment. A few years later, he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“I never desired to be a minister,” Lewis said, “but God picked me out of 14 sisters and brothers at the age of 23. The Lord came into my life and changed everything. He changed my walk, my talk and my way of living.”

Lewis went to visit Union Grove Church of God in Christ in 1956, where he met Irene Hayes, who became his wife. They were married for 55 years until her death in 2011.

“I will never forget my wife. I still love her today,” Lewis said. “She helped me in so many ways. If it wasn’t for God and him using her to encourage me, I might not have built the first church. She was with me from the beginning of this holy journey and I have faith that God will hold me up for his righteousness. Over the years, God helped me through my late wife, my children, the late Earl Lewis, Tim and Merchele, my grandsons, my church family and the community to continue his holy work.

“As my daughter often sings, ‘We’re going to make it, as long as we have Jesus on our side, things will work out fine.’”

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