Destroyed by an air conditioning system fire almost four years ago to the day, the rebuilt Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church will burn its mortgage and celebrate its 67th anniversary at 3 p.m. Sunday at 1615 E. Murphy St., where the Rev. Windsor Archie has been pastor since July last year.
“The challenge was in getting to learn the people while trying to get established in the city as well as putting together a plan to complete the building,” Archie said. “I was helped a lot by the deacons and trustees, who willingly helped to make things happen.”
The church met in First Baptist Church of Odessa’s former sanctuary while the $1.2-million project was underway.
Archie graduated from Marlin High School in East Central Texas in 1988 and served 7 1/2 years in the Army as an electrician doing heavy construction at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Karlsruhe, West Germany, and Fort Polk, La., during which time he earned a degree in finance and accounting from McLennan Community College in Waco.
Archie worked as an accountant in Fort Worth while attending Elm Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where he studied with Dr. Carl P. Small and was ordained in 1992. He and his wife Leatrice have two children and a grandchild.
“From when I was a young child, as the older people say, God had his hand on me,” Archie said. “I got called to the ministry at the age of 16 and accepted my calling at 22. I didn’t want to go, but I knew I was going.
“The Apostle Paul’s life kind of fits my life. He wasn’t looking to be part of the church, but once he encountered Jesus he gave his everything to Jesus and the church. He wouldn’t quit when he was against Jesus and wouldn’t quit when he was for Jesus.”
Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church reopened and had its first service in February 2016. Having burned on June 27, 2014, it averages 60 to 75 people at its 10:15 a.m. Sunday services. Archie said work on the offices and cafeteria is still in progress.
The minister often draws inspiration from the Pauline Letters, which comprise 13 of the New Testament’s 27 books. “My greatest goal is get people to understand that we have to love as Jesus loves us and we have to forgive just as Jesus forgives us,” he said.
“We often forget that and it’s not just within church, it’s within families, within jobs, everywhere.”
Archie pastored churches in Texarkana and Paris, Texas, and Hugo, Okla., before Odessa. “The Odessa people have been kind not only to our presence but also to our ministry,” he said.
“Everyone is more than welcome to come and share in our ministry.”
The Rev. Roy Brown, who succeeded Archie as pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Hugo, said he is a humorous man who is talented as an electrician, carpenter, speaker and administrator, having also helped get the Oklahoma church out of debt. “Windsor gives his all for the members of his church,” Brown said.
“A family would lose a loved one in Arkansas, and they would look up and he was there. He didn’t care if it was out of state. He was going.”
“He loves to fish. We went fishing in Oklahoma and Texas, and he was the same down-to-earth guy there that I saw at church or in restaurants. He is a good guy and he loves people.”