Hooks prepares to deliver final sermon - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Hooks prepares to deliver final sermon

Benjamin L. Hooks Benjamin L. Hooks

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - This Sunday, the Reverend Doctor Benjamin L. Hooks will preach his last sermon as pastor of Greater Middle Baptist Church.  The retiring pastor says he has a lot of work still ahead of him.

Hooks is a civil rights legend, a lawyer and leader of an 800 member church.  A recent set back in his health made him physically unable to keep up with the challenge of leading a church that handles over a million dollars a year, so he's decided to pass the torch.

"I didn't feel it was fair to the people to remain as pastor and being ill number one and number two for my own safety and health," said Hooks.

Long before it became a buzzword Hooks was multi tasking. He's been head of the FCC, chairman of the leadership council on civil rights. And, as president of the NAACP, celebrated 27 major legislative victories including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"I was always busy," Hooks said, "And everything I did was trying to improve the lot of black people in this nation."

For Hooks, the ministry always came first.

"I've never had one job I've always had three or four. I had two churches had one here and one in Detroit for 30 years," explained Hooks.

Hooks may be stepping down, but he shows no signs of slowing down.  He will guest pastor at his church from time to time, and continue to serve on a number of civil service committees and work as a lawyer.

I've been here 52 years I'm 83 years of age," Hooks said, "My health has gotten better since I said I was going to retire."

After this Sunday's service there will be a dinner for his congregation. An official retirement banquet is being planned for a later date.


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