He hails from a long line of preachers and was charged with carrying on the ministry after his father retired.
A 30-year veteran of the ministry, Marvin Kelly is the pastor of St. James Church of Christ Holiness unto the Lord, established in 1933 in the Holmestown community of Midway.
“I went into the ministry at age 27,” said Kelly, who has served as pastor for four years.
Kelly, the son of Bishop Ernest Kelly of Midway, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and lived there until he relocated to Liberty County in 1980.
He previously served as assistant pastor, church administrator, Sunday school superintendent, chairman of the deacon board and director of the Liberty County and Baxley Extension Milton Solomon Bennett Bible Institute.
The pastor also serves as assistant overseer for 10 churches in Georgia, youth ambassador and moderator of the Northeast District. He graduated from Moody Bible College and has done mission work in the Bahamas.
Kelly said he is proud of St. James’ various programs and ministries.
“We have an after-school program (Kids Cafe feeding program), women’s ministry, brotherhood, praise team and a dynamic youth department,” Kelly said. “Every second Sunday, the youth take charge of the entire service.
“The church supports Africa on Fire mission and sends money to Africa each month,” he continued. “We also assist Pastor Horace Oliver of Solomon Temple with tent revivals, and we have many activities at the St. James Sport Center. We work with the First Presbyterian school in Hinesville. They use our soccer field and gymnasium, and we are active with local churches.”
Kelly said his father, Bishop Ernest Kelly; his late aunt, evangelist Mary Kelly; and evangelist Shirley Walthour were instrumental in affecting his life and helping him spiritually.
“My father started many churches and did many tent revivals,” Kelly said. “He was a businessman. He had his own construction company, restaurant, laundromat and bus company. My father is very generous and concerned about people getting saved. My father is a giver; he would pay people’s rent, buy them cars and help build churches. Evangelist Shirley Walthour is a dynamic teacher and taught me early in my ministry.”
Kelly has been married to Barbara Kelly for 31 years, and they have one daughter, Monique.
“My wife works with hospitality in the church,” the pastor said. “She checks on everyone. She is also a prayer warrior.”
In his spare time, Kelly enjoys reading and watching cooking shows.
“I always wanted to cook, and when I retire I want to take a six-week culinary course,” he said.
The pastor currently is employed with the Fort Stewart school system.