Last updated: June 19. 2014 6:59PM - 915 Views
By - cfriedman@civitasmedia.com

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HAMLET — North Carolina’s insurance commissioner has recognized a Richmond County pastor who is marking his 50th year in ministry.

Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin said he and wife Melane Goodwin, a former state lawmaker, attended the Rev. Tommy Legrand’s Hamlet church while living in Richmond County. The Goodwins planned to congratulate Legrand during a June 14 reception but said an illness in the family kept them away.

“Through good times and bad, we have witnessed Reverend Legrand serve his church and the community above and beyond the call of duty,” Wayne Goodwin wrote in a June 10 letter. “He has championed the less fortunate, comforted the bereaved, inspired the wayward soul, provided for those in need and been a faithful vessel of the Lord for countless folks far and near.”

Goodwin, a Hamlet native, sent a letter and certificate to Prayer and Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in recognition of Legrand’s milestone. Parishioners, friends and guests gathered at the church last week to congratulate Legrand, who is 75 and began his career in the ministry as a church deacon in Philadelphia.

“It has been a blessing to know Pastor Legrand since the very early 1990s — most particularly thereafter during my and Melanie’s 14 years respectively serving in the state legislature representing Richmond County. Among my fondest personal memories are the times spent celebrating, singing and worshipping with him at his church.”

Wayne Goodwin was elected to four terms in the North Carolina House before serving as assistant insurance commissioner and being elected to lead the state Department of Insurance in 2008. Melanie Goodwin served three state House terms and now is a deputy commissioner at the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Legrand began preaching in the streets after he said God called him to win souls in a vision. He came to Richmond County in 1969 and preached on the streets in Hamlet.

His outreach led him to start a church, and Legrand bought a dilapidated building that he worked to convert into a thriving ministry center.

“I patched up the windows and doors and got the lights turned on, but there was still no running water or restrooms,” Legrand said. “We made repairs on that building as the congregation grew.”

Prayer and Faith Temple was dedicated in April 1994, and Legrand has preached there since. The church added a school and food pantry over the years and is building a family life enrichment center set to open in August.

While tending his flock in Hamlet, Legrand has remained active in outreach, holding tent revivals in five states.

“Melanie and I feel truly honored to have this opportunity to congratulate Pastor Legrand on reaching this milestone of 50 years in ministry,” Goodwin wrote. “In addition to sending a personal donation to the church in his honor, we wish him and all his family and friends the very best on this wondrous occasion — on this day and every day — and rejoice in having shared our lives with him.”

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