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Rev. Hodo served church for 52 years

The late Rev. Robert Hodo spent 52 years of his life ministering at Mt. Hope Baptist Church and he recently died.

On his 45th anniversary, the road adjacent to the court was renamed Hodo Court and on his 50th anniversary, the church hosted a parade that included churches from surrounding areas and as far south as Roberta.

Wayne Lucas, chairman of the board of deacons at Mt. Hope Baptist Church, said Rev. Hodo led the church through many difficult times, including the pandemic.

“Going through the pandemic and having virtual church was something new to him but nevertheless he led us through those challenging times. He had a great deep impact on his deacons and everyone he helped,” said Wayne Lucas. “For many of us, he was the only pastor we ever had. He was there for 51 years and nine months and he baptized a lot of us, our children and our grandchildren. He devoted most of his time to the church and he was there when people needed good spiritual and sound advice. He always consulted God before he would help people with their life’s decisions. Sister Gwendolyn and the entire congregation is deeply saddened. Our church family is show her our love and sympathy for her loss which is our loss as well. She has been in Pike all of her life and she is very well loved and respected.”

Emma Jean Taylor attended Mt. Hope Baptist since the Rev. Hodo started his ministry there and she said he was known for his humbleness and his dedication to serve mankind.

“He was a giver and he treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was a God-fearing man who loved the Lord. He only missed four Sundays out of those 52 years and of course we had other programs and different outreaches as well,” she said.

She noted that there are many members who have only ever known Rev. Hodo as their pastor since he had been at the church for so long. He passed Nov. 21 and his funeral was Nov. 28.

“His last sermon was the third Sunday in October. His health had been declining as far as mobility. He was to preach the first Sunday but he wasn’t feeling well and later that evening went to the hospital and he did not make it back home. He was in the hospital for two weeks,” she said. “It has taken a toll on all of us and we are in the process of getting a plaque made in his memory.”

Pastor Hodo was licensed to preach Feb. 28, 1963 at age 24 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Thomaston under the pastorate of the late Benjamin Lockhart and ordained to preach July 16, 1966 at Shady Grove Baptist Church under the pastorate of the late Rev. C.H. Atwaters.

In all his years of preaching, he only missed a few services.

’I was called here to Mt. Hope in February 1972. I was 33 years old when I came here,’ he said in a previous interview with the Journal Reporter. ‘I can best describe my calling to preach as a thirst or a hunger. In all my years of being here, it has truly been rewarding as well as challenging.’

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