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A Lowellville pastor preaching for nearly seven decades celebrated a milestone birthday Sunday.
Every Sunday morning, residents can hear some of the oldest church hymns coming from the Lowellville Christian Church on the corner of Wood and First Street, where Reverend Owen Fitch has been the pastor for nearly 70 years.
“I came in 1947. I’m in my 67th year now,” said Fitch.
He was 29 years old when he started at the church. He turned 95 Sunday and is still at it. His four children and church members came out to help him celebrate his birthday after Sunday’s service.
Fitch said he never thought he’d be there for so many years.
“The people were very open and very loving, and we felt an acceptance here,” said Fitch. “I had no ambitions to make a lot of money or anything. And I didn’t either.”
“I love the way Owen preaches and breaks the word, and I love the old hymns,” added church member Paul Holden.
The pastor’s family is also a big part of the church. His late wife once played the organ and his youngest son Rick takes care of the church grounds and leads the music every Sunday. The family has enjoyed serving the Lowellville community.
“We have close connections with Lowellville because this was home,” said Rick. “We’ve learned a lot. We hope that the people in the community have learned a lot about us.”
Throughout the years, Fitch has seen many people come and go.
“I have buried the whole congregation,” said Fitch.
He now has about 5O members. The reverend has no plans of leaving the church anytime soon.
“I’m gonna drop dead in the pulpit,” finished Fitch.