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Mayor awards Key to the City to long-term pastor for his service to community
With 37 years of service as Pastor of Unity Missionary Baptist Church, the Reverend Harry F. Givens has given a lot of hope and inspiration to his congregation and others who have been able to attend his services and listen to his sermons. On Sunday, February 5, 2012, the role was reversed, and he was on the receiving end of the inspirational and joyful messages from the church during a Family and Friends Day Celebration in honor of Rev. Givens and Sister Donna Givens.

In recognition of Givens’ work and commitment to the people and the facility of this church, the day was full of prayers, music, and tributes from many in the community. During the special event, Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston bestowed on Givens a Key to the City as a tribute of the City’s appreciation for his service and in honor of his retirement. He also read a Proclamation honoring Givens for his dedicated service and ministry to congregation and citizens of Joplin, noting many of his accomplishments such as:

  • 37 years of service as Pastor of Unity Missionary Baptist Church, providing outstanding service to his congregation and the citizens of this community;
  • Serving his country in the Marine Corps from 1944-1946, being honored as a distinguished congressional gold medal recipients;
  • Ministering to the spiritual needs of his congregation while also giving generously of his time and talent in service to the community in his work as Chairman of the Joplin Blind Association; Chairman of the Carver Birthplace Association; and member of the Community Housing Resource Board;
  • Serving as the Southwest District Moderator, working diligently to foster spiritual unity;
  • Enriching and blessing the lives of many through his daily service for the Lord and his desire to faithfully serve Him.

“Reverend Givens has been a mainstay for many in our community,” said Woolston. “It was my honor to award him a Key to the City for the countless acts of service and goodwill he has provided to not only his church community, but also to the citizens of Joplin. We wish him well in his retirement and thank him for his service to Joplin.”

A large crowd attended the celebration, including Mayor Pro Tem Melodee Colbert Kean and her family.