Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Reverend Dr. Shellie Sampson, Jr., a remarkable spiritual counselor and community leader, on his 20th anniversary as Pastor of the Thessalonia Baptist Church in the Bronx.
Reverend Sampson was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, but his extensive education has taken him all over the Northeast. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University and went on to receive his Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Drew University. Reverend Sampson studied at the prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary and New York University. As if he had not achieved enough academically already, Reverend Sampson also received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Virginia University and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Temple University.
Mr. Speaker, since his arrival to New York's religious community 20 years ago, Reverend Sampson has made many unforgettable changes. He played a major role in the construction of the Thessalonia Cultural Conununity Center which has helped to unite the community and provide recreation and a number of services. Also, as a result of his efforts, the Thessalonia Elementary Academy and the Thessalonia Institute of Education were established to provide people of faith with exceptional educational opportunities.
The man I am honoring today has been an example of leadership for his congregation and many community members. The community programs that he has spearheaded dealing with education, homelessness, senior citizens, and youth are too numerous to mention. As a result of all that he does and has done, Reverend Sampson has been the recipient of a number of awards and has been placed in many leadership positions throughout his 30 years in ministry. Reverend Sampson has served as a religious guide, friend, confidant, and teacher. He has maintained not only the spiritual strength of his church, but has made sure that its physical foundation remained sound as well with renovations. Along with his intensive studies, Reverend Sampson is somehow still able to successfully lead and uplift his congregation and be a loving husband and father to his eight children. He is truly a remarkable individual.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in celebrating Reverend Dr. Shellie Sampson, Jr.'s 20 years of exceptional service to the Thessalonia Baptist Church congregation and to the entire Bronx community.
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