SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Spirits were raised high Sunday morning at Mount Canaan Missionary Baptist as the Shreveport church's massive congregation welcomed its pastor-elect with open arms.
Gregory Lamar Oliver Sr. delivered his opening sermon at Mount Canaan, exciting parishioners of all ages.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," he said. "My assignment is just to keep it rolling."
The Rev. Dr. Harry Blake Sr., a Shreveport pastor and civil rights leader, will retire in September after more than 50 years of service at Mount Canaan.
Oliver officially will be installed as senior pastor at Mount Canaan after Blake retires.
And he said he understands the magnitude of the legacy Blake is leaving behind.
"He's an icon, so it's such a privilege to be in a place where he has stood for so many years."
Oliver comes to Mount Canaan from True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe and Bastrop, where he's been the senior pastor for 22 years.
Oliver said he's ready to take on new challenges in Shreveport, such as dealing with crime throughout the city.
"Crime can sometimes, I think, be the result of people struggling to find out who they are and where they fit.
"Love is the key, love is the key."
Following is Oliver's opening sermon at Mount Canaan: