By Jennifer L. Warren
TOWN OF HIGHLAND FALLS– In a time when so few who enter choose to remain beyond the first year, an even thinner slice of the calling’s population surpass the first couple of years, Reverend Milton Stubbs has achieved an elusive, much revered status: Two decades in the Pastor ranks.
That rare accomplishment was celebrated Saturday afternoon inside West Point’s Hotel Thayer, where a large crowd of members from the historic African Methodist-Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church of Newburgh he leads, along with family and friends, turned out to pay a special tribute to a man all who know him have nothing but praise. Whether it’s “a great heart,” “fun to be around,” “someone to bounce ideas off of and trust implicitly,” or a “leader who is not just sitting behind the desk, but in the trenches with us,” every person who spoke of the deep impact Stubbs has had on his or her life was filled with deep appreciation for being blessed to know a man of such lofty character, conviction and an all-around genuine love for people and the word of God.
“His personality and ability to just be a real people person really stand out; he’s also a very strong leader, who is a wonderful pastor who deeply cares about his people,” said Barbara Davis, Trustee at the Zion Church who has knows Stubbs for a decade. “Whenever you call on him- no matter the reason, he is always there; he also has a great sense of humor, but above everything else, he is a man of God.”
That calling to God can be traced back to 1995, when Stubbs started his ministry at Saint Peter African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in South Carolina, his native state. He went on to be ordained a Deacon and then an Elder in 2003. Eleven years later, in June, 2014, Stubbs was officially appointed to Pastor at City of Newburgh’s A.M.E. Zion Church, a place where he continues to loyally serve his congregation. In addition to his religious endeavors, he also worked nine years as a Manager with the New York City Housing Authority as well as with Con Edison’s Customer Service Department along with a host of volunteer work. A firm believer in action, Stubbs believes it’s what people see as a result of your life that matters. Everything he does with his own life is guided by the power of God, an entity he views with incredible power to transform lives.
That incredible devotion and inspiring character Stubbs possesses is something City of Newburgh Mayor, Torrance Harvey has always noted as well as been profoundly grateful for. He has witnessed first-hand how it has made the City a better, more hopeful, unified and positive place.
“Pastor Stubbs is truly a man of God; thank you so much for all of the disciples you help in Newburgh,” said Harvey. “Your deeds will always live on in this City.” Reflecting further, Harvey added, “It’s nice to be nice, regardless of if someone else isn’t nice to you, and you Pastor-along with your wife Valentina and family- have always been nice to me and my family and for that I thank you.”
That simple, basic kindness was noted by church member, Darius Austin, as he delivered impromptu, heartfelt remarks about Pastor Stubbs.
“When I first met you, you made me feel like family,” said Austin. “We really are family at this Church, and sometimes when I just think about that idea when I’m at work, it fills me with a sense of peace.”
At the conclusion of the luncheon tribute, Stubbs approached the front podium. Keeping his words brief, the humble, visibly touched Pastor of twenty years immediately thanked each and every person for their presence at this beautiful event and day. He then turned to his family, wife and two sons, adding, “This is my life right here; when you don’t have family, you don’t have anything, and I am just so thankful for each person who has poured into my life.” Looking around the room, while displaying visible signs of gratitude for the entire afternoon as well as the breadth of the turnout and support, Pastor Stubbs advised to all present, “It’s only what you do for Christ- not yourself or others- that will last; when you are gone from this life, that’s what really matters.”
Pastor Stubbs has accomplished innumerable deeds for that Christ, and his work is far from over. His congregation and all whose lives he has left indelible, positive imprints upon, eagerly await the future gifts his presence and work for his God are bound to deliver.