Pastor Chester Riggins Will Never Be Forgotten

March 11, 2009 8:22:24 PM PDT
Family and friends are remembering a local pastor many consider to be a West Fresno legend. Pastor Chester Riggins passed away on Tuesday at the age of eighty.Fresno City Council President Cynthia Sterling said, "He's a loving person, he's only going to be remembered that way."

The seat Pastor Chester Riggins took for 44 years is cloaked in black. It was from this pulpit at Saints Rest Missionary Baptist Church in West Fresno that many say he empowered an entire community.

"When he would walk into a room or take the pulpit on Sunday it just changed everything," said Sterling.

Riggins served as a Fresno Police Chaplain for many years--City Council President Cynthia Sterling says she was a young girl when she first met the reverend who was then heading to Alabama. "Back in the early 60's he and my mother marched with Dr. Martin Luther King for civil rights," said Sterling.

Rev. Shane Scott became the pastor of Saints Rest in 2006 following Riggins retirement. Scott says Pastor Riggins continued the fight for equality in Fresno through the church.

Rev. Shane Scott said, "I think Saints Rest is still in the thrust of the social justice movement. "He instilled in this congregation hard work and tenacity will carry you."

Recently the African American Museum honored Pastor Riggins for being a trailblazer and pioneer in the Fresno community.

Charles Francis said, "What makes people great it's the dees he does."

For many years reverend Riggins worked as a postal carrier in his community. In 2007 the people he served honored him by naming a street after him.

"He would leave his job, take off his postal uniform, put on a suit, walk the Fulton Mall just to share the gospel," said Rev.Scott.

Many honor the life and contributions of the man they say had a commanding, but gentle presence.

"He served this community well. He will never be forgotten," said Francis.

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