Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church honors Pastor Windley
by Laura Stone | June 10, 2018 6:00 am
Last Updated: June 8, 2018 at 11:51 am
Reverend Dr. George P. Windley, Sr., was called to the ministry in 1967 and answered the call in 1968. However, he felt led to join the U.S. Navy in 1969 and served two years during the Vietnam War. After he exited the Navy Windley attended Morris College and studied biology with the intent of joining the medical profession.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor of Divinity from Morris College and subsequently attended Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. He completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education, which took another year and three months, soon becoming the first African American Senior Chaplin in South Carolina.
Windley lived in Sumter, but his first prison duty station was at Central Correctional Institution in Columbia. While there, he performed worship services for those housed in the psychiatric ward and the hospital ward as well as for the general population.
When Allendale Correctional Institute opened in Fairfax in 1989, Windley became the only Chaplin at a facility which housed 1,140 inmates. In 1993, a new prison was built in Turbeville, and Windley became the Senior Chaplin at Turbeville Correctional Institution where he stayed until he retired from the prison system in 2015.
“I thank God for that wealth of experience,” said Windley.
Windley has been preaching for 50 years and has been with Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Manning for 40 years and received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree in 2014. He gathered pastors to start the Interracial Interdenominational Clarendon County Ministry Alliance 35 years ago to bring harmony and unity to the races and denominations in Clarendon County.
Many of the pastors he has taught and mentored over the years have chosen to celebrate his 50 years in the ministry by holding a week-long event from June 4-10. The event is “Honoring and Celebrating Jesus for saving and calling Pastor G. P. Windley into the ministry 50 years ago,” according to Windley. Any donations gathered during the week will be used for the construction of the Community Family Life Center.
Each night will host a different pastor whose life Windley has touched. Services will start at 7 p.m. nightly. Reverend Carolyn W. Braxton, pastor of St. Peter Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach and Windley’s sister, preached Monday night. Reverend Covial Stanley, M.D., pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Conway, preached Tuesday night. Reverend Oscar Cash, JA, pastor of Anderson Baptist Church in Moncks Corner, preached Wednesday. Reverend Dr. Marion H. Newton, pastor of Jehovah Baptist Church in Sumter, will preach on Thursday. Reverend Rogerstine Gourdine, pastor of Pilgrim Ford Baptist Church in Yemassee, will preach on Friday.
Sunday has a full schedule. Retired Lt. Colonel USAF Reverend Jerome Ward, from Fort Worth, Texas, will preach at 11 a.m. The Black River Associates will perform a Dance Ministry at 3 p.m., followed by a service performed by Reverend George P. Windley, Jr., pastor of First Baptist Missionary Church in Sumter.
Windley continues to volunteer with the prison system, and the church started a prison outreach project. Every Saturday before Palm Sunday, they gather packages for indigent inmates who receive nothing from family members or friends. Through the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention, they gather toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap for the inmates, as the state can no longer afford to provide these items.
Windley has served as Coordinator of Prison Ministry for the South Carolina Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention for 15 years.
Through his time with the prison system, Windley discovered a disproportionate number of prison inmates had grown up in a home without a father. He desired to offer teachings on how to be a Godly man and husband, and in 1989 Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church started Manhood Training.
In the annual seminar, they offer career, financial and health information. It also covers courtesy and respect for self and others as well as individuality and self-reliance teachings. This summer, the all-day event will be held on June 23, along with Womanhood Training. The training is open to young men and women ages 8-18.
As an offshoot, every Monday, the church hosts Godly Men helping Men and Boys and Men to Become Men of God and Godly Women helping Women and Girls Become Women of God.
For more information regarding services or the Manhood and Womanhood Training, contact Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church at (803) 435-2038. If individuals want to donate to indigent inmates, contact the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention in Columbia at (803) 931-8811.
“I’m just so thankful for what God has done and is doing. The highest I want to get in this life is at the feet of Jesus,” said Windley. “I believe if we as a human race become sons and daughters of God, what a beautiful world this would be.”