HENDERSON — South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church pastor Frank Sossamon is stepping down from his position after four decades of serving Vance County.

Sossamon has thoroughly enjoyed spreading God’s message throughout his career but he believes now is the right opportunity to focus on other business ventures while also spending more time with his family.

“I’ll be 67 in October,” Sossamon said. “We purchased Flowers Funeral Home in 2018 and changed it to Sossamon, so I wanted to devote some time to expanding our footprint and offering more services while I still had energy and health.”

Sossamon has worked as a pastor since 1978 and spent his first eight years in Marion, North Carolina. Since moving to Vance County in the 1980s, Sossamon has spent the entirety of his time preaching the gospel at South Henderson Pentecostal.

During his time at the church, Sossamon has seen his congregation and the community change in numerous ways, but he has cherished every chance to create friendships and pass down the values of Christianity to different generations.

“I’ve really enjoyed serving in the community and seeing lives change,” Sossamon said. “Those are some of the most rewarding things but the longevity allows you to observe the cycle of life. You’re with people when they’re born, you see them graduate from high school, you marry them and dedicate their children. You can build relationships with people that you normally aren’t able to do.”

While Sossamon is stepping away from being a pastor, he intends to maintain an active role in the community through Sossamon Funeral Home, adding that the business offers many similarities to what he has been doing at South Henderson Pentecostal.

Sossamon admitted his approach has to be different when dealing with a more somber atmosphere at a funeral home as compared to a church but he, his family and his staff work hard to ensure that families are cared for as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

“My son and I had talked about that endeavor for a number of years,” Sossamon said. “It’s another way we can serve the community at a difficult time but make it as easy as possible for the family. We took the opportunity to purchase the funeral home and now we’re operating it.”

Now that he is set to retire from pastoring, Sossamon and his wife have already started to make early travel plans, which is relieved to still be able to do after seeing many of his associates in the ministerial field wait too late on their retirement, to the point where they are unable to move around freely.

COVID-19 restrictions have currently halted any plans for Sossamon to leave the country but with new cases rapidly declining, he is looking forward to observing many unique locations, whether that involves traveling by car or by cruise.

“We’re going to do some traveling,” Sossamon said. “Our Alaskan cruise and land package was cancelled because of COVID and we still haven’t been able to re-book that. We plan to go to France since that’s where our daughter-in-law is from, and there are a handful of places in the United States that we want to see.”

Sossamon’s final service at South Henderson Pentecostal will take place on March 31 but he plans to still preach on Easter Sunday.