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102-year-old returns to pastorates before ‘glory’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) — Woodstock Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., welcomed one of its former pastors to preach Jan. 10 — 102-year-old Oliver Everett (O.E.) Boals, who led what was called Woodstock Park Baptist Church during the 1950s.

Gary Poplin, Woodstock’s current pastor, looked forward to meeting the man who had such an impact on the church. Poplin said there are current members who were baptized by Boals during his tenure there.

Boals has been a Southern Baptist preacher for 84 years, serving in churches across Florida. His longest tenure was at Jones Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville, where he served for 18 years.

To commemorate his 100th birthday in October 2013, Boals preached at First Baptist Church in Archer.

Poplin, who met Boals for the first time before the Sunday morning service, said the former pastor’s trip to Woodstock is part of his desire to “make his way around to all the different churches he’s pastored one more time before he promotes to glory.”

As Poplin sees it, “We’re excited to honor his legacy in this way.”

Poplin is connected to Boals not only through his church family, but his extended family as well: Boals baptized Poplin’s father-in-law and later went on to officiate his in-laws’ wedding.