Priest retires after over a decade of service

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After serving the community for more than a decade, Father Harold Roberts of the Church of the Redeemer will retire.

In his last day as acting priest an emotional crowd witnessed the reverend's last sermon.

The congregation at the Church of the Redeemer was at full attention on Sunday, May 29, 2011 because it was the last day Reverend Harold Roberts would address the crowd as their leader.

"Our rector of 14 years and three months is leaving us today. He's retiring, going on to bigger and better things and so we were trying to make sure we said a very good farewell to him," said Leanne Lorenz, Church of the Redeemer Warden.

With members individually and collectively expressing their gratitude to the reverend, they did just that.

Pat Adams has been a member of the church for fifteen years. She said working with Father Roberts has been a blessing, and that he will truly be missed.

"Father Roberts is absolutely a wonderful very compassionate person. He has done a wonderful job of leading Redeemer to where it is today," said Adams.

"We've been through a lot together in many ways, including Katrina which resulted in us being in this new site. But the congregation has a lot of vitality," Father Roberts explained.

The priest brought an inspiring message of hope and perseverance as usual, with the service ending with a special litany to officially relieve the pastor of his duties.

The service on Sunday was emotional for members and the Reverend, but he said he's confident the congregation will continue to grow and he wishes them the best.

There were times in the service where I kind of choked up, but I think I've done what God called me to do here, I have a great affection for these people and I wish nothing, but the best for this congregation," said Father Roberts.

A retired priest will conduct services for the rest of the summer. Congregation leaders said they should have a new priest by September.

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