Pastor celebrates half-century of service

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

BELHAVEN — Joseph Hoggard praises God every single day.

He thanks him for his life, for his town and for the past 50 years as the pastor of Hoggard Temple Church of God in Christ in Belhaven.

“I tell you, it’s been 50 years and I got 50 years more to go,” Hoggard said.

Hoggard was recently celebrated at the Oct. 9 Belhaven Board of Aldermen meeting, and members of his church were there to witness it. Mayor Adam O’Neal awarded him a plaque to thank him for his 50 years of pastoral service, something Hoggard called “very special.”

“You’ve always been here, and you’ve always been about what’s right,” O’Neal said.

Hoggard was raised in church as a boy and never anticipated that he’d one day become a leader of his own church, but he is grateful every day for being chosen to lead the people of his church. Hoggard said while it’s been a great, God-driven privilege, it hasn’t always been an easy one.

“It’s an all-around job. It doesn’t end at 7 or 8 o’clock. I’ve left home a lot of nights,” Hoggard said.

Even through tough times at the church, he never lost sight of God, and God never lost sight of him. Hoggard said he’s been knocked down a few times, but he has no need to worry — God is his protector.

“If I leave here, I will meet the Lord over there. You turn around and go straight back, and the Lord is right there. Everywhere you go, the Lord is there,” Hoggard said.

Hoggard said his key to success for all of these years has been simple — setting his mind to leading the church, and leaving the rest up to God.

“I held onto God, and God just stepped in and blessed me. All you need is a made-up mind. God will take care of the rest,” he said. “I’ve had 50 years to one church. My mind has been made up the whole time with what God has blessed me with.”