Church celebrates King’s 97th birthday

On May 21, at 1 p.m., the Union Grove Free Will Baptist Church family, headed up by Bishop Garland Mayes, Deacon Clarence Ashford and the Union Grove Male Chorus, honored its oldest member with a 97-years-of-life celebration for his birthday.

Ester James King was born on May 21, 1920 in the Keener community. He was a brick mason by profession and his work can be seen around Sampson County. King is a World War II veteran who served in the US Air Force from 1942 to 1945. During his years of service, he was stationed in North Africa and Italy as well as other duty stations. He is the oldest living WWII veteran from Sampson County.

He joined Union Grove Free Will Baptist Church as a young man and continues to be a faithful member even today. On most Sundays, he can be found in church sitting on the front pew singing and praising the Lord. And as the service goes forth, the spirit of the Lord is high; in fact, he’s even been known to dance a step or two.

When not in church, King can be found working in his garden or sitting on his roof top just watching the cars go by.

“We, as the members and pastor of Union Grove Free Will Baptist Church, count it an honor and a privilege to have someone so seasoned and full of knowledge of the Bible within our congregation,” the pastor noted. “God has been good to him and continues to add a blessing to his life. He is truly an inspiration to us all.”