JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Recognized for his commitment and service in the River City, a well-known and respected leader in our community, Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Sr. at 87 years old continues to uplift and inspire.
His office is filled with memories, stories and honors.
"I hold it in very high esteem because I know that has to do with the work that I am directly involved with and that is about people," said McKissick.
With 48 years worth of service on the pulpit at Bethel Baptist Institutional, McKissick has helped to establish more than 50 ministries including youth leagues and outreach programs. Bethel's longest serving leader, he stepped down from the pulpit at age 86, in 2014.
The church has its own rich history, one that dates back to the 1830s, it was formed as an interracial church.
"I was born and raised in this church and I can remember when this church was for the who's who," said McKissick. "And God blessed me to pastor here for 48 years and then the church became for the whosoever will."
McKissick's journey has lead him to achieve and see great things, including launching partnerships around the world, adopting churches in both South Africa and Panama.
"I hope my legacy will say that I made a difference in the lives of people and the difference was for their good," said McKissick.
He says at 7-years-old his eyes were opened to the ways of the world and now at age 87, to see the first African American President in office at times brings the bishop to tears.
"I'm just glad to be living in a day and time to witness all that I am witnessing," said McKissick. "Seeing what I never dreamed I would see and feelings I never thought I would have."
Bishop McKissick's son, who is his Jr. now presides over Bethel Baptist Institutional and its more than 12,000 members.