BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Author, activist, community leader. Baltimore mourns one of its influential pastors.  Rev. Dr. Harold Carter Sr., who led New Shiloh Baptist Church in Northwest Baltimore for 48 years, died Thursday morning.

As Gigi Barnett reports, members say his legacy will be a long-lasting one.

“He left a legacy for everyone,” said Laura Wilkins.

Wilkins remembers the snowy New Year’s Eve night back in 1969 that led her to join New Shiloh Baptist Church in Northwest Baltimore.

The words of the pastor, Rev. Dr. Harold Carter Sr., hit home.

“His message was so uplifting and we said, ‘We have to go back.’ And I went back,” Wilkins said.

But Thursday, Wilkins and thousands of others in Carter’s congregation are mourning him. He died early Thursday morning.

Dr. Carter was an active community and civil rights leader and singer, who’s credited with starting one of Baltimore’s first mega-churches, with more than 5,000 members.

And right around the corner from the church on Monroe Street is a family center and senior apartments that Carter developed.

“We weren’t looking forward to it. We always had hope he wouldn’t. But the Lord prepared us for this moment,” said Shirley Harrison.

Church members Shirley Harrison and Mary Lumpkin live in the senior apartments. When the news came Thursday morning, they weren’t surprised. Carter battled cancer for nearly 20 years.

“I really wasn’t shocked because I got the opportunity to talk to his son a couple weeks ago. And he told me I gave him hope because I knew what he was going through,” Lumpkin said.

Now, as black drapes decorates the church’s marquis and workers change the wording to reflect his passing, members believe Carter left a legacy, but he has a great reward.

“‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ That’s what he’s saying to Rev. Carter now,” said Wilkins.

In a statement to WJZ, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the pastor was a neighbor when she was growing up and she remembers him as a very kind and gracious man.

Carter’s funeral arrangements are still pending.

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