Peoria, Ill. (HOI) - It's the end of an era for Peoria's Riverside Community Church as Pastor John King has retired after serving for more than 25 years.
The final Sunday of each month is usually set aside to welcome new members to the Riverside community through baptism. This week, the spotlight was focused on the church's pioneer.
King started the congregation 20 years ago at the Peoria Holiday Inn. They found their current building on the market for $3 million, but King says with the power of prayer he got it for $500,000.
"The whole reason that I'm doing what I have been doing is because I believe in people," King said. "I believe in the fact that anyone who breathes has a destiny on lives and a future."
A sentiment Pastor John's successor sees each week as over 1,200 people come to worship.
"Just to see the lives he impacted because he was faithful and obedient, he left the UK and impacted thousands of lives all these years later," said Lead Pastor Michael Ritchason. "That's just a taste of what I think we'll see in Heaven with all of the people that will be waiting for him one day to just say thank you."
Ritchason says it will be hard to fill his mentor's shoes, but John says Riverside is in great hands.
"I'm sure that the future is going to be better than the past," King said.
John is excited for this next part of his journey, but he will stay with the church and hopes to be as good a volunteer as he was a pastor. While Michael says John is a great leader and close friend, he is also a loving father-in-law guiding him through life.
"There's no one I would rather walk through this next chapter with by my side than him. He has just so much wisdom and has followed God for every single ounce of his life. To get to do that alongside of him, learn from him and sit underneath him is really exciting looking into the next season for Riverside," Richason said.