Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

In Honor of Dr. I.L. Mullins, Sr.

Mr. Bishop (GA) – Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an inspiring community leader and beloved Pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. I.L. Mullins, Sr.  Sadly, Dr. Mullins passed away on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.  His passing leaves a tremendous void in the hearts of his family, friends and the Thomasville, Georgia community.

On Thursday, July 26, 2012, a Musical Memorial Service will be held in honor of Dr. Mullins at First Missionary Baptist Church. On Friday, July 27, 2012, a funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church in Thomasville, Georgia.

Dr. Mullins was born on August 26, 1930, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War in the 1950s.

Over the course of his lifetime, Dr. Mullins admirably mastered the balance of his civic responsibilities with his academic accomplishments and religious commitments. After he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in 1957, he went on to obtain his Masters of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center & Gammon Theological Seminary in 1960. In 1979, Dr. Mullins received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Faith College in Birmingham, Alabama.

A fierce believer in equality and justice for all, Dr. Mullins was not only a profound theologian but also a strong civic leader. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and was instrumental in organizing the local Thomasville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Additionally, Dr. Mullins served effectively as Thomas County Commissioner for five-terms that spanned over two decades.

Ordained as a minister on December 29, 1957, Dr. Mullins has served as the Pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church since 1961 and was honored by the church for fifty years of dedicated pastoral service last year in a Golden Jubilee Extravaganza.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I will always remember about Dr. Mullins is his dedication to helping others and his passion for promoting equality and peace among individuals from different walks of life. A man of integrity and high moral values, his understanding, compassion and kindness made him a guiding light within the community. 

On a personal note, I have been truly blessed by Dr. Mullins’ warm friendship and support and I am deeply grateful for his counsel and advice as well as for being a fountain of inspiration for me over the last several years. His motto was, “God’s Preachers give their hearers fruit, not flowers.” Indeed, Dr. Mullins gave his congregation and all those who have sought his counsel the fruit of the Word to satiate and sustain them throughout the journey of life.

Mr. Speaker, my wife Vivian and I, along with the almost 700,000 people in the 2nd Congressional District of Georgia, would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Mullins’ wife the former Josephine Lovejoy Ferrell, their children, grandchildren and the members of First Missionary Baptist Church during this difficult time.  May they be consoled and comforted by their abiding faith and the Holy Spirit in the days, weeks and months ahead.