The Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Fayetteville and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died Wednesday night, SCLC officials confirmed.
In 1999, Rev. Creecy took a leap of faith and followed a vision to move from St. Peter’s Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta to Fayetteville, and he was joined by his father, Howard Creecy Sr., in establishing Olivet Baptist here, according to SCLC spokesman Maynard Eaton. The elder Creecy at the time led Mt. Moriah Baptist Church near the campus of Morehouse college.
The two were among the first to leave inner-city Atlanta to shepherd flocks in the suburbs, Eaton said.
“They came together with their ministries in Atlanta and said ‘we’re moving lock, stock and barrel into Fayetteville,” said Eaton, who also was a close friend of Rev. Creecy. “People thought they were out of their minds. … People said ‘There ain’t no black folks out there’ but he said, ‘They’re coming.’”
Rev. Creecy had seen U.S. Census figures showing a growing black population in Fayetteville, Eaton said, and so he felt it was his prophecy to come to Fayetteville.
Olivet developed a large following and held four services a week, including one on Saturdays and three on Sundays, Eaton said. The church has developed plans to double its size.
And Creecy was so popular that a German television crew was filming his service last weekend, Eaton noted.
“He was a dynamic leader, a transitional leader,” Eaton said, noting that Creecy “grew up” in the SCLC family because his father Howard Sr. was a college roommate of civil rights leader Dr. Ralph Abernathy.
Eaton also noted that Creecy was a big fan of barbecue in particular, and that was his only major criticism about Fayetteville, was that it lacked good barbecue.
Funeral arrangements will be posted here as soon as they become available.