In Walthourville stands a historical church more than 100 years old at the intersection of Dunlevie and Talmadge roads.
Founded by Liberty County natives in 1869, Baconton Missionary Baptist Church holds a significant place in the community’s history. Now, Hermon Scott serves as the congregation’s 18th pastor.
Originally from Alabama, Scott always knew he wanted to serve — both God and country. In 1976, he became licensed as a Baptist preacher, and three years later he joined the Army. While in active duty, he went to college full-time and was commissioned as an officer upon graduation. As the story goes, he got stationed at Fort Stewart and, once retired, decided to make Liberty County his home.
After retirement, Scott took his degree to the Long County School System, where he taught social studies for three years and was the in-school suspension supervisor for seven. During these years, he was part-time pastor at Baconton Missionary Baptist. He eventually left the school system to become a full-time pastor.
“Over the years, I have become a much stronger Christian,” he said. “These jobs have allowed me to imitate Christ not only in my public life, but in my personal life as well. I impact the community by encouraging people to accept Christ as their Savior.”
Becoming a pastor isn’t as easy as filling out an application and handing in a résumé. Most Baptist churches employ a rigorous process to choose a pastor. Licensed pastors in the community are invited to the church and, after several activities and interactions with the congregation, they are chosen.
Scott not only serves his church, but he is also a life member of the NAACP, an active member of the United Ministerial Alliance of Liberty County and the moderator for the Zion Missionary Baptist Association, which is the oldest African-American Baptist association in North America.
“My day job is pastoring, but my desire is to live my life like Mathew 25 — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prison and visiting the sick by reaching the least, the last and the lost for Jesus. That is my life mission,” he said.
Scott fulfils this ideology by being involved in different community organizations. At Manna House, he participates in donating food and clothing, which are offered to people year-around, and is secretary on the board. He is also a chaplain for Liberty Regional Medical Center and the Long County Sheriff’s Office, where he provides pastoral services for the sick, imprisoned and staffed.
A recognizable role that Scott has is president of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition. The coalition’s goal is to eradicate homelessness by providing shelter and utilities to those in need. Temporary housing is offered to the homeless, and services such as résumé building aid in job searching.
“Everything I do in the community, we do at a smaller scale at Baconton,” he said. “Our mission statement is to build a Holy Ghost-led community of loving relationships where members daily love, follow and model Jesus Christ.”
Baconton Missionary Baptist aims to help anyone who walks through the door. Every fourth Saturday, the church hosts a food and clothing giveaway. During the summer, the church provided free lunches for four weeks and on Christmas Day, toys are given to families in need. Baconton Missionary Baptist’s biggest event is the Oct. 31 fall festival, which provides an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating.
With everything he does, Scott believes he would not be able to do anything without help from different organizations and the team of ministry leaders he has at Baconton. He continues to fill his time with pastoring and community service. Once in a while, he goes saltwater fishing with a book by his side.