Eli and Freida Sheldon were honored at a reception March 14 at the Baptist Building. Freida recently completed 14 years of service with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) with her final position being Eli’s ministry assistant. Eli announced his retirement as BGCO historical secretary this year.
For eight years, Eli served as BGCO historical secretary, working closely with the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission. Many will recognize him as the one who visits churches during special occasions and makes presentations on behalf of the BGCO and the historical commission.
“It is rare for (Eli and Freida) to not have a weekend where they are out at one of our churches recognizing that church’s history, that pastor’s tenure, the accomplishments of that congregation, and there are fewer things that mean as much to them as knowing that there are others who can recognize and appreciate their accomplishment, especially their fellow Oklahoma Baptists,” said Scott Phillips, BGCO Operations Team leader, during the reception. “And Eli is the one who is the personal presence of Oklahoma Baptists in that church on that day, and that is especially meaningful for them.”
A longtime Oklahoma pastor, Eli’s last pastorate was at Oklahoma City, Crown Heights, where he served 28 years. He also pastored at Marietta, Eastside and Roosevelt, First.
“I never knew I would end up in a position like this,” Eli said about serving as historical secretary. “Every day has been fun. Every day is still fun. Every morning I wake up and say, ‘Okay, Lord, what now?’ I don’t know what exactly it is going to be, but I know I will still be involved in research. In fact, one of the reasons I retired is so I can get more into research of history of churches.”
Bob Nigh also was announced as the new BGCO historical secretary at the March 14 reception. He recently retired after serving 18 years as managing editor of the Baptist Messenger.
“Oklahoma Baptists have a rich heritage and history. The Lord has prepared Bob to continue and expand the great work Eli has done, as we tell the story of what God has done through Oklahoma Baptists,” said Brian Hobbs, Messenger editor.