The church family life center was beautifully decorated, using a fall theme, as over 175 people came to help Rev. Lovell and his wife Ruby celebrate. A bountiful meal was served following the morning worship services.
Youth Pastor Jeremy Sullivan welcomed all those in attendance to the afternoon reception and program, which consisted of a wide variety of testimonials, music and entertainment. Rev. John Lindsey opened the program by telling about his long friendship with Rev. Lovell. Entertainment was selections performed by Alleluia and the Monette Gospel String Band, featuring Rev. Lovell on the fiddle.
Rev. Gary Gipson and Rev. Bob Kinnett took turns telling about their time spent with Rev. Lovell. Several guests took turns in giving testimonials of how much Rev. Lovell had meant to them, during his 53 years in the ministry.
Jason Stewart presented Rev. and Mrs. Lovell with a commemorative plaque and monetary gift amounting to $4,100. Associational Missionary Harold Ray led the closing prayer.
When asked what he planned to do after retirement, Rev. Lovell was quick to say, "I plan to officially retire now, and do as little as I can."
The Lovells will move to their former home, 404 Brooks Street in Harrisburg. They plan to attend the First Baptist Church, where Rev. Lovell pastored before moving to Monette in 1996.
"We just love Harrisburg," Lovell said. "It seems like we are going home again, as we still have so many friends and family members there. I retired when we lived there, but just wasn't ready to give it up, so we decided to come to Monette to serve, as they were without a pastor at the time. This time, I'm really going to retire, and I think I can get the hang of it.
"I have loved serving in Monette and have made friends here that will last a lifetime. Harrisburg is not so far away, and I expect people to come and visit us."
Alleluia summed it all up when they sang one of Rev. Lovell's favorite songs, "Old Friends."
Rev. Lovell and his wife expressed sincere thanks for those in attendance for the thoughtful words, gifts and most of all for the love they have shown through the years.
Rev. Captain and Ruby Lovell