December 31st didn't just mean the end of the year 2000, it also marked the end of an era for a Biloxi church. After 29 years at the pulpit Dr. Frank Gunn retired as pastor of First Baptist Church Biloxi. Ernestine Cherry still remembers her first impression of the young pastor that arrived to her all those years ago.
"He was such as nice looking man first of all and so kind hearted," said Cherry. "I think that has been a trait we have seen all along. He's so caring for everyone and really takes care of his congregation"
Dr. Frank Gunn says his relationship with his congregation has always been one of his top priorities. The relationship he formed with Chris Bristol as a teenager 22 years ago has meant the world to Bristol.
Bristol said "This church is where I met my wife on a Sunday school canoe trip and he's baptized all three of my children here and he's been a treasure to our family."
At the age of 18, Dr. Gunn says God called to be a preacher instead of a lawyer as he had intended. He says being a pastor has had its highs and lows but mostly highs. Now nearly 30 years after coming to First Baptist he says God has called him to step down and let new leadership come in. Gunn says studying the word of God and prayer have been his source of strength and if he had it to do over again....
"If I could go back and redo any of it I could surely say with all assurance I know God led us here," said Gunn."God kept us here, and God has blessed thoughout the entire time"
Gunn is retiring as the official pastor of First Baptist Church Biloxi but he is not retiring as a preacher. He hopes he will be invited by churches to be a guest preacher or to serve as interim pastor when they are searching for a permanent pastor.