Copeland to be celebrated

Published 10:07 pm Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Suffolk pastor reached a rare milestone this spring — 50 years at the helm of the same church.

Bishop Madison G. Copeland has led the Greater Sweet Beulah Apostolic Church since March 18, 1962. He grew up preaching in the schoolyard to his friends.

“Back then, I could take my Bible to school and preach to the kids on the playground,” he said. “I couldn’t do that now.”

Bishop Madison G. Copeland is celebrating 50 years as the pastor of Greater Sweet Beulah Apostolic Church.


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Copeland was licensed at age 15, in 1947. After he began his full-time ministry in Hertford, N.C., and stayed there for two years, he came to Greater Sweet Beulah.

It wasn’t called that at the time, though. The “Greater” was added after a new church was built in 1964.

“I love people, and many souls have come to Christ under my ministry in those 50 years,” Copeland said.

He now has the unusual honor of being pastor to his great-grandchildren, who still attend the same church along with many of his two biological sons, three adopted children and numerous “foster children.”

“I thank God for my beautiful wife, Pauline P. Copeland, that has stood by me these 50 years and has shared me with the congregation,” he said.

Copeland recently turned 80 years old. The church will celebrate his church anniversary and his birthday with a banquet June 2 at 5 p.m. at Tabernacle Christian Church. To get tickets, call 934-3055.