George Moore was a jovial, humble pastor who spoke with purpose.
“He believed in what I was doing and encouraged me to be the best at what I was doing,” said his son George Moore Jr.
A Decatur native, Moore began working at age 9 as a delivery boy for a local drug store. He graduated from Atlanta’s Washington High School and went on to work for several restaurants including Lucas’ Grille in Atlanta. He co-owned the clothing boutique Vine City Village and became a driver for one of the first black-owned cab companies, The Atlanta Car for Hire. He eventually became part owner.
Moore went to church with his grandfather and joined Cosmopolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1951.
“He became so attached and interested in the life of the church,” said his son. “One day the Lord called him to preach while he was a member of Cosmopolitan AME Church.”
Moore attended Turner Theological Seminary at Morris Brown College. He was ordained a deacon in 1958 and ordained an itinerant elder in the AME Church in 1960.
He was appointed the pastor of Woosley Mission AME Church in November of 1958 and Davis Chapel AME Church in November of 1961. In July 1962, he was appointed to Amanda Flipper AME Church, where he served for eight years.
In 1970, Moore was appointed to Saint Philip AME Church in the Reynoldstown community, and he moved the membership of 200 to its current location in 1977. The membership has since grown to more than 10,000, and the church has more than 50 ministries. He served as senior pastor for more than 42 years.
George Moore died Sunday. He was 79. A funeral will be held 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road SE, Atlanta. Gregory B. Levett & Sons is in charge of arrangements.
“He knew how to encourage and lift you up,” said Kevin Moore, his grandson. “He would always tell me, ‘I am encouraged just because you showed up. I love you just for being you.’ It means a lot for someone to believe in your gifts more than you do. He was always behind me saying ‘you can do it, you got it.’ ”
Moore received honorary doctoral degrees from Wilberforce University in Ohio, Morris Brown College and Turner Theological Seminary.
His grandson said Moore liked to help younger pastors. In 2002, Moore and his family established the George Moore Foundation, which provides mentoring for men and women in ministry and their spouses.
In addition to his son and grandson, Moore is survived by his wife Nettie Mae Lewis-Moore, daughter L’Tanya Moore-Copeland, daughter L’Tarra Moore, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.