Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Mackenzie Kambizi, pastor of the Ethan Temple church, celebrates member Benjamin “Bennie” Grissom’s 104th birthday and acknowledges his community work with the Jefferson Township Board of Trustees.

Town Celebrates 104-Year-Old Ethan Temple Member

Story by Mackenzie Kambizi

The Jefferson Township Board of Trustees in Montgomery County, Ohio, recently celebrated Benjamin “Bennie” Grissom’s 104th birthday, a member of the Ethan Temple church in Clayton, Ohio. The Board of Trustees also recnogized Grissom for fostering self-sustaining solutions beyond urban and rural community development in the township. U.S. Congressman Michael R. Turner joined the celebration by testifying what a remarkable milestone this was, and how many people aspire to reach this age, but few do so.

During his long life, Grissom witnessed the hardship of the Great Depression, lived through times of war and peace, watched an Ohio native plant an American flag on the moon, saw the dawn of the space age and the election of the first U.S. African-American president. For more than 60 years, he has been a faithful member of Ethan Temple, where he has served his congregation in various roles and capacities.

Grissom credits his longevity to strict adherence to the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exod. 20:12, NKJV). He still gives two-dollar bills and sings “Happy Birthday” to church members and continues to drive his Ford F-150 pickup truck to church every Sabbath. Ethan Temple members say they are blessed to call him their friend and a friend of God.

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