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Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Reverend Dr. Eugene Johnson on his retirement after 30 years of faithful leadership at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Centreville, Virginia. Mount Olive Baptist Church has served the spiritual needs of those in the Centreville and Northern Virginia communities for nearly 120 years, and Dr. Johnson's leadership has positioned this institution for another century of success.
Rev. Dr. Eugene Johnson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and raised in nearby Oakville. His father was a minister and his mother worked avidly for the good of the community. Dr. Johnson received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Southern University, Baton Rouge, in 1970. He earned his Master of Divinity Degree at Howard University in 1989, and in 2006, the Richmond Virginia Seminary conferred on him the prestigious Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree for his exemplary leadership and service.
Before assuming full-time pastoral duties, Dr. Johnson was known as a national expert in design, art, and architecture. He served as the principle Resident Architect with the Federal Highway Administration and was credited as being the first African American in many of the agency's national accomplishments. Dr. Johnson has been recognized for his efforts that resulted in the designation of ``All-American Road'' to the historic Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights route. This march, led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began on March 21, 1965, with 3,200 marchers. Four days later, on March 25, 1965, 25,000 marchers had joined.
In 1992, Dr. Eugene Johnson assumed the leadership of Mount Olive Baptist Church. Under his guidance, the Church has experienced unprecedented growth in not only the number of members, but also in its activities and influence. Membership has increased nearly ten-fold from 250 members in 1992 to more than 2,000 today, including many young people.
Dr. Johnson inspired his congregation with his timely sermons and his compassion for all people in every aspect of their lives. In the midst of a global pandemic, Dr. Johnson led Mount Olive Baptist Church in continuing the good works of ministering to the hopeless, caring for the sick and shut-in, providing food for the hungry, and speaking up for the voiceless. He truly embodied the congregation's core values of community and service throughout this unprecedented time.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating Rev. Dr. Eugene Johnson on this momentous occasion, and in commending him for his service to Mount Olive Baptist Church and our community.
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