Rev. Boise Miliner was born in rural Alabama in 1938, and as a young man, he migrated north to Dayton to look for work. Three decades later, he found his calling. Today on Senior Voices, he shares the story of how he went from being a Deacon at Omega Missionary Baptist Church, to becoming the Pastor, overnight. He spoke with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Cynthia Wallace-King.
Boise Miliner: The Bible says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and righteousness and all these other things will be added unto to you.”
I had a pastor in 1987 died in the pulpit. He told me the night before he died. See, he called me MIliner. He was in his bed. Just looking, staring in the sky. He says and he says to me he says “Miliner, I got to go”. I said, “What?” He said, “I got to leave here.”
And he told me everything, where everything was. He had his, had his, everything written out what he want done. And he told you are going to have to take care of the church. I said, "What Reverend? I can’t do that.”
And he said, “Do it. You’re about the only one that I know that can to this.”
So I had to pastor, actually pastor, that church until we can get, you know, another pastor coming in. So, I just, and my church is Omega Missionary Baptist church. At that time we was on Miller Avenue. It was 949 Miller Avenue. And, uh, with the cooperation of the membership it was, it was, actually super.
I thought that I had to know everything. I really did. Honestly. And I studied. Some of the time, most of the time all night long. I studied Baptist doctrine. And, uh, I had to do that I studied so many different things in order to qualify. To make sure that my people, I had to bring the right message to them.
So I studied, sometimes all night long. I was in there reading my bible and praying and singing and crying and everything. I tried to make sure that I could hold the church together.
So, with that, usually when a church like that don’t have a pastor they scatter. You know, they go to another church. We didn’t lose anybody at our church. Matter of fact, during the time of my ministry there we had people that had left the church were came back. We increase, on that. That’s nothing to brag about me, it was the Lord, you know. It was just the fact that I was driven by a force, that I couldn’t help it. I really, I couldn’t help it. The Lord was really, he really worked with me. So I had to study different things. I thought I had to know everything. I had to know Baptist doctrine, you know. I had to write a constitution. Stuff like that. Golly, all this stuff. I attended everything that goes on at the church. Even usher meetings, choir meetings, and mother’s board. I mean I was there all the time.
I got so wrapped up I was teaching bible study one night at the Omega Baptist Church.
It was on a Wednesday night. And you know I thought I had to teach all the classes, I to do everything. So, what happened, with me, I was too wrapped up. And I got sick. My stomach started jumping. And I started throwing up blood. And I want to the hospital. My wife that I was dying. And I looked up at her, I say, “Honey,” I say, “nothing isn’t going to happen to me.”
She said, “Well, what is it.”
I say, “The Lord put me down here.” I said, “The Lord put me down where he could talk to me.” because what I was doing was going, trying to jump ahead of him instead of waiting on the lord for direction. I’m going on, you know, some of the stuff I think I know.
She said, "Boise, you know, you are one of a kind.”
This interview was edited by Community Voices podcaster Patti Gehred. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation. Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series as part of Community Voices.