The Rev. Collins A. Days Sr. has always been a man to count his blessings.
And for the past 19 years the congregation of the Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City has been the source of many of them, he said.
Days recently marked his 19th pastoral anniversary at Second Baptist, and the congregation held a day-long celebration Nov. 3 in his honor.
The church, located at 110 Rev. I.S. Cole Plaza, has about 3,000 members and is one of the largest in the city, with more than 20 nationalities represented, according to church officials. That's a big difference from the 350 members on the church rolls when Days first arrived.
"The Lord has been good," Days, 53, said in an interview prior to his anniversary service. "We've grown tremendously over the years."
He credits the congregation with supporting his vision and being active in the community.
"I think they have done a great job over the years in caring about their church and caring about their community," Days said. "I'm very thankful."
Before arriving in Atlantic City, Days was pastor for 13 years at Round-O-Baptist Church in Darlington, S.C. At the time, he was the youngest full-time pastor in the state, having obtained his ministry at the age of 20.
He and his wife, Constance, have four children and three grandchildren.
At Second Baptist, Days established the Minister's Home Detention Program, the Pastor's Posse, Christians in Recovery, Spiritual Leadership Training classes and the African-American Male Conference.
"Through the continued blessing of God and the support of the congregation, I have been able to reach out and expand our mission work," said Days, who has personally visited about 20 foreign countries on missions.
He also serves as president of Vision 2000 Community Development Corporation, which has accomplished projects such as home ownership programs, a Senior Citizen Housing Complex, the Civil Rights Garden and helped minority-owned businesses.
"The church has been very supportive over the years of my vision," Days said.
To mark his pastoral anniversary, the congregation chose the theme, "We walk by faith."
The day began with guest speaker Kaleem Shabazz, president and community liaison of Masjid Muhammad mosque, at the 8 a.m. service, followed by a light breakfast. The Rev. Elias Thomas, pastor of Community Baptist Church, spoke at the 11 a.m. service, which was followed by dinner, and the Rev. Dr. Milton L. Hendricks, of Faith Baptist Church, spoke at the 7 p.m. closing service.
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