Preacher returns to Natchez

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 1999

The Rev. LeRoy White has returned to Natchez after 35 years to pastor Clarmount Baptist Church.

&uot;I was called back home to do God’s work,&uot; White said.

White will be installed as pastor of the church in an installation ceremony today at 5 p.m. at the church at 114 Cemetery Road.

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White left Natchez at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He earned a degree in engineering and worked in that field when in 1984 he was called to preach.

He earned his master’s degree in divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, Calif. He’s now completing his doctoral degree in theology at Mt. Sinai Theological School in Sacramento, Calif.

At 52, he’s come home to a growing church that has moved from a one-room schoolhouse to a building triple that size.

&uot;What impresses me most about this congregation is their willingness to work,&uot; White said.

The 61-member congregation did all the expansion work on the church building themselves.

&uot;We come out in the evenings and work together,&uot; White said.

On Oct. 31, the church will host a homecoming service beginning at 11 a.m.

&uot;We’ll have preaching, singing and lots of food,&uot; he said.

A father of three and grandfather of six, White’s children and grandchildren still live in the Sacramento area.

White has known his wife Betty since they were children together in Natchez. They’ve been married 31 years.

His focus in Natchez is to grow disciples.

&uot;We tell people if they’ve come to serve, they’re welcome here. If they’ve come to sit, they should find another church,&uot; he said.

White said he’s having fun getting reacquainted with Natchez.

&uot;I’m used to heat, but I’m adjusting to the humidity again,&uot; he said, smiling.

&uot;I’ve always come home to Natchez. I’ve never been ashamed to say I’m from Natchez. There’s such love here for one another.&uot;

His favorite memory of growing up in Natchez was simply being near family and friends and the deep roots of love and support he received from them.