SHOAL CREEK VALLEY – For almost a quarter century, Brother Marlin Cox has been the pastor of Greensport Baptist Church.

This past Sunday, a special service honoring Cox, and his wife Jamie, was held in honor of his upcoming retirement.

Both Marlin and Jamie were honored for their years of dedicated service.

Many stood and shared how even when Cox did not feel like it, he would visit in hospitals and homes. And this was while he kept a fulltime job working in Birmingham.

Many talked about how Jamie cared for the children of the church, teaching Sunday School and leading in Vacation Bible School. She has also been the church pianist for as long as her husband has been pastor.

During his time as pastor, Cox has seen both daughters get married, he has performed several marriages, and yes, he has performed ceremonies at funerals of church members as well.

Cox also had to hold his church family together during the tragic tornado of April 27, 2011, that ripped through Shoal Creek Valley leaving 13 dead, including two who were members of his church.

When asked what the key to being the pastor at one church for 24 years has been, Cox said it was the tremendous result of God working in peoples’ lives. He said it’s like family.

“People here in the Valley are good church people and they love coming to church,” Cox said. “They love worship and they come to love God. If the pastor loves God and the people love God and they come together to worship, we have a great experience. Therefore, it creates an atmosphere of good worship and when you come, it’s like visiting family. You greet each other, you worship together, you read your Bibles together, and learn together. It makes a great atmosphere for the people.”

Cox said he thoroughly enjoyed the festivities of the day.

On hand for the special service was St. Clair Baptist Association Director of Missions Ben Chandler, who along with his wife, Patricia, had the pleasure of attending the special day honoring Cox.

“Marlin and Jamie have done a wonderful job of serving through the years,”

Chandler said. “We appreciate their commitment to our association, to the state convention and to our Southern Baptist convention. They have a strong love of missions and people. He has a real strong trait of pastoral care, and many pastors could learn a lot from him regarding that.”

Chandler added that is an amazing feat for a pastor to stay at one church for 24 years.

“It takes a lot of commitment and skill to do that,” Chandler said.