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One year later, and the testimony is greater for the pastor of St. Mark M.B. Church in Brookhaven

God has truly smiled on Pastor Lauria McDuffey Jr.

He has completed one year as pastor at St. Mark M.B. Church, and his love for God is now deeper than when he accepted his calling in April 2007.

The pastor was 22 back then and he thought he was too young to be a pastor, so he decided to be an associate minister. But it was not long before God told him to do more. “The calling to pastor became very loud and clear to me and unavoidable,” McDuffey said.

He followed God’s instructions, which led him and his family to Brookhaven to St. Mark M.B. Church. They leave their home in New Hebron, to drive to church around 8:30 a.m. every Sunday morning. He and his wife decided not to relocate from their home.

“It’s a joyful 45 minute drive,” he said laughing.

McDuffey is filled with joy to share the message that God has placed in his heart from 1 John: 4, “God is love.”

“It’s simply amazing to think of how great God’s love is. My first year as a pastor in the Brookhaven area has shown us that God has fashioned our lives so that we experience his love through a relationship with him and through our relationships with other people. God’s love is designed to be shared with others through his children,” the pastor said.

He knows that he is not perfect, but he is thankful to have a forgiving God. McDuffey has not always been a minister. He has a military background and passion for the information technology field. Even as pastor, he says that he is learning more every day.

Photo submitted/Pastor Lauria McDuffey and his wife, Latoria Monique McDuffey, drive to Brookhaven each Sunday from New Hebron. With them are children Lauria III (left), James, Bryson and Railyn.

Photo submitted/Pastor Lauria McDuffey and his wife, Latoria Monique McDuffey, drive to Brookhaven each Sunday from New Hebron. With them are children Lauria III (left), James, Bryson and Railyn.

“I’m praying that people will accept that statement. For believers, my prayer is that this statement would convince them to never display anything less than love. For others, I pray that they’d somehow be made aware of God’s love and humbly accept it. It’s simply amazing. He has unfailing and never-ending love for us,” he said.

McDuffey believes in God’s love and the beauty of what it does. The proof of his word can be found in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“It’s so amazing. It should amaze everyone that in order to experience God, all a person has to do is accept what has already been done,” he said. “In Romans 10:9, God saves people. He actually raises our lives up from lives of deadness. He changes and restores our lives, and it’s not because we deserve it, but it is because he loves us.”

The pastor looks forward to every Sunday morning with excitement to preach the word God has placed in his heart. “We are a loving family of believers, and we hope to spread that love to everyone that we meet. So, I encourage anyone and everyone who feels led to do so, to join us and worship the Lord with us,” he said.

St. Mark Missionary Church is located at 627 E. Monticello St. in Brookhaven. Bible school starts at 6 p.m. Sunday School starts at 9:30 a.m. followed by morning Service at 11 a.m. on the first, second, and third Sunday.  On the last Sunday of each month, Sunday school starts at 8:30 a.m. and church service starts at 10 a.m. Transportation can be provided to and from church by calling 601-833-6377.