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Local pastor, 88, gets college diploma

After almost 55 years and returning to his studies at Shorter University in Rome, 88-year-old Rev. Horace L. Sheffield will receive his bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies at the school’s commencement exercises May 5. Before beginning his studies in 1959, Rev. Sheffield pastored churches in neighboring areas of north Alabama and Georgia. He was licensed to preach at the age of 16 and ordained by the First Baptist Church of Tallapoosa at 17. Rev. Sheffield was bi-vocational during this time and prior to entering the ministry full time, worked at the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Marietta. He was called to pastor the Pine Bower Baptist Church in Cedartown full time, where he began studies at Shorter, completing coursework started through Howard College and Mercer Extension. After taking a class in geology, Sheffield became interested in fossils and helped locate an outcropping which changed the geological map of northwest Georgia. A sample of the fossils was sent from Shorter to a collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. After completing 115 hours of coursework in 1965, Rev. Sheffield dropped out of college to take care of his family and educate his children. From 1966-1976 Sheffield pastored the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Rome and from 19761989 Calvary Baptist Church in Barnesville. He was involved in leadership training and teaching bible study courses which led to traveling as a Growth Consultant with the church training department of the Georgia Baptist Convention. At that time Rev. Sheffield had over 25 certificates including one certificate for 500 hours of coursework in which convention leaders tagged him the equivalent of a PhD. He has been on two mission trips to the Syracuse area of New York and has also served as Director of Missions for the 56-church Tugaloo Association in Toccoa before his retirement. Rev. Sheffield served as parttime minister of the Fredonia Congregational Church for 12 years after his retirement, and currently serves as Pastor Emeritus at Calvary Baptist where he continues to teach a Sunday school class. During this time, he maintained a love for learning and has continued the studies he put on hold 55 years ago with the help of his tutor Amanda Brannock, a teacher at LCPS. ’It is just now dawning on me that I am about to graduate and receive this degree on paper,’ said Sheffield. ‘I could not have done this without Amanda. She has been a fantastic tutor and has pushed me to get all A’s on the coursework I needed to complete my degree.’ Rev. Sheffield will receive his degree Friday. A graduation party will follow the ceremony. Each graduate will receive a copy of Rev. Sheffield’s story written by his eldest daughter. Remembering his late-wife Bernice Godwin Sheffield, he will celebrate with his daughters Judy Brock and Sheila Milner and five grandchildren.

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