By Journal Staff Writer

One by one, cars pulled up to Pastor Johnny Hobbs Jr, as he sat with a face mask on. Those in the car either greeted him with happy birthday, or handed him a gift.

The pandemic of Covid-19 has sparked numerous drive-thru birthday or graduation celebrations throughout the city. The members of Greater St. John’s Church, 2127 Sylvania Ave, wanted to honor their Pastor in a similar and safe way. So on Saturday, October 24, a drive-thru birthday celebration was held in the church’s parking lot, celebrating Pastor Johnny Hobbs Jr. 73rd birthday.  And on Sunday, the church celebrated his 43rd Pastoral celebration virtually.

Elder Louis Davis, assistant pastor, told The Toledo Journal that the members of the church wanted to celebrate Pastor Hobbs’ birthday and Pastoral anniversary, but wanted to do it safely and by the guidelines the State of Ohio issued.

“Our Pastor is an extremely generous man, with his time, as well as, monetarily,” Elder Davis said. “If someone is sick, Pastor Hobbs is visiting him or her. If someone is graduating, Pastor Hobbs is attending the ceremony. So with all the things he does for us, we wanted to do for him.”

“It feels good to be 73,” Pastor Hobbs said. “Life has taught me a lot, especially how to be a loving, leader, and a servant of God.”

He said the celebration put on by members of the church is a humbling experience, and that he greatly appreciated the time and effort by the congregation.

Regarding his 43 years in leadership, Pastor Hobbs said it has been an honor serving good people, and that over the years, he has become very compassionate.

“My ministry is a compassionate ministry. God puts good people in your life, and it’s up to you on how you interact with those people. I’ve tried to show love and compassion with all my heart,” he said.

Amongst the many things that stick out in the mind of Pastor Hobbs as a great accomplishment over his 43 years as Pastor, he said being able to pay the 30 year mortgage on the church in 11 years.