Pastor Harvey Riley, a longtime minister and community service stalwart who took the gospel from the neighborhoods of south Melbourne to the Jordan River in Israel, has died following a long illness, church officials confirmed today. He was 77.
Riley was pastor of the 600-family Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Palm Bay for 30 years and a minister for five decades who gave his first sermon in Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Cocoa where his father was a deacon. He also worked with businessmen, politicians, civil rights leaders and other pastors from across the nation.
“It’s a great loss, “ said Assistant Pastor Norman Gleason of Mount Moriah. “I talked to him a few days ago and he told me to carry on. His legacy will always be with the church.”
Riley served as chairman of the board for the Florida General Baptist Convention and was awarded a Lifetime achievement award at the Space Coast Onyx Awards in 2010. Last month he watched via Skype on his iPad as the church celebrated his 30th anniversary as pastor.
In recent years Riley supported efforts to develop a mentorship conference for black youth, gathering clothing and other goods for earthquake victims in Haiti and helping to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to Nigeria. Riley is survived by his wife Johnnie Mae Davis.