Bishop Milton Miller led Stark Tabernacle Holiness Church in Flovilla from 1959 until his death last month.
A congregation was in mourning last week, following the passing of its longtime leader, Bishop Milton Miller, who helped found the church more than a half century ago.
Miller, of Stark Tabernacle Holiness Church in Flovilla, died Aug. 25. He was 88.
He was among a group of faithful who gathered in a Butts County living room in 1954 that would go on to form the nucleus of the Stark Tabernacle Holiness Church. Daisy Eusery, 75, said the group met in her mother’s living room, until her grandparents opened a building on their Jackson Lake Inn Road property to the church later that year.
“They were having prayer service at my mother’s house every Saturday night,” Eusery said.
As the congregation grew, it began looking for land and built a church in 1957, Eusery said.
The church moved to Flovilla in 1977.
Eusery said Miller became the church’s leader two years after its opening, in 1959, and always focused his message on the Bible.
“He was the kind of preacher that taught us well at Stark Tabernacle,” she said. “He only talked about the Bible, and the word of God.”
In addition to Stark Tabernacle, Miller also established the Solid Rock Holiness Church in Monticello, church members said, and pastored it simultaneously for 39 years until turning it over to his nephew, Elder Charles Davis.
Bishop B.F. McKibben, of Gospel of Christ Miracle Revival Fellowship in Jackson, said he’d known Miller more than 40 years, and each sometimes preached in each the other’s church.
“He was a good man and a good preacher, too,” McKibben said of Miller. “He was concerned about people, that’s for sure. He was a generous man.”
Tony Head, who for five years has co-pastored Stark Tabernacle, is taking over as pastor following Miller’s death. Head said his brother introduced him to Stark Tabernacle after coming to a revival more than 30 years ago.
“My life got changed in August 1978, and I’ve been with him ever since,” Head said.
He said Miller was a church builder and a community builder, and that he intends to lead Stark Tabernacle in Miller’s vision.
“What he taught me, what I learned from him, I want to continue the same path,” Head said.
In remembrance, church members held a singing the evening of Aug. 30 at Community United Pentecostal Church in McDonough, which played an integral role in Miller’s faith story, and a memorial service for Miller Aug. 31 at Stark Tabernacle.
Eusery said Miller was the first person saved at Community United.
Funeral services were Sept. 1 at Shiloh Baptist Church in McDonough.
Eusery said she visited Miller in his last days, and that until the end, he held strong to his faith. She said she told him during a visit, “’You taught us everything we know about the Lord.”
She said she also began to sing to him, and he did his best to join her. “Under his dying breath, he was trying to sing that song, ‘I’m a Witness To My Lord,’” Eusery said.
“He was an awesome man,” she said.