08/03/09 — MOC conference room named for area pastor

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MOC conference room named for area pastor

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 3, 2009 1:46 PM

A conference room at Mount Olive College has been named for a Goldsboro area minister.

Services were held recently to dedicate the Gary M. Bailey Conference Room, in honor of the pastor of Stoney Creek Free Will Baptist Church. To commemorate Bailey's 30-year pastoral anniversary, the church made a $1,000 donation to the college with the naming rights to the large, first-floor conference room of W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall.

The honor will be a tribute to Bailey's service to Stoney Creek as well as strong ties to his alma mater, MOC.

Bailey is married to the former Kristie Raper, whose father, Dr. Burkette Raper, was the college's president for years. The couple have two children and four grandchildren.

A native of Martin County, Bailey graduated from MOC in 1972 and N.C. State University in 1974. He has served the FWB denomination in many capacities, including membership on the Cragmont Assembly Board, Ordaining Council of the Central Conference and Board of Home Missions of the Central Conference.

He was hired at Stoney Creek in May 1979. Since then, the congregation has grown from 220 to nearly 600 members. He provides pastoral care for more than 1,000 people and 400 families and has performed more than 180 weddings and 230 funerals.

During the dedication service at the church, several shared fond memories of Bailey.

"Gary has been with us through marriages, divorces, births, deaths, financial struggles, times of celebration, times of great sadness and many other things that we can only imagine," said Del Daniels, a 20-year member of the church. "One thing that he has never claimed to be is perfect. But, his love for Jesus and his love for this congregation is always evident. He serves not only Stoney Creek Church but also the Free Will Baptist denomination at large."

Jean Ackiss, director of church support at MOC, has known Bailey for nearly 40 years.

"He has great compassion for others," she said. "He has proved to be a Godly leader for Stoney Creek Church and for the Free Will Baptist denomination. The college is very pleased that Stoney Creek Church chose this method to honor their pastor in a way that will perpetually honor the service of one who has played such an integral role in the lives of entire families over the past 30 years."

Bailey reflected on his years "of joy and laughter and tears" serving at his church.

"The people of Stoney Creek Church have been selfless in caring for people other than themselves and have been willing to adapt to change when the change was designed to reach more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ," he said. "They have given me the opportunity and challenge of preaching the love of Jesus for all of these years and have been attentive and compassionate, first when I was very young and had so much to learn, and more recently when I have begun to forget that I have told the same story several times. My life has been blessed beyond measure and I can say with the old apostle, John, in third John 1:4, 'I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.'"