The Rev. Lorenzo Long, pastor of Central Baptist Church in West Baltimore, where he was known for his community outreach initiatives, died Sunday of complications from surgery at Howard County General Hospital.
The Columbia resident was 52.
Dr. Long was born in Aiken, S.C., and was raised by an uncle and aunt in Baltimore. After graduating from Edmondson High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1983 from what is now Bowie State University.
Dr. Long worked as a media technologist at his college for 24 years, where he also taught a course in basic and advanced photography and was Bowie State's official staff photographer.
He earned a master's and a doctorate in divinity from the Family Bible Institute College and Seminary in Baltimore.
The longtime member of Central Baptist Church was licensed to preach in 1993 and ordained a Baptist minister in 2000.
At the church in the 2000 block of W. Baltimore St., Dr. Long had been assistant director of the youth and young adult department, where he was a Bible study instructor. He also was co-chair of the Family Life Ministry.
Dr. Long was named pastor of Central Baptist Church in 2003, succeeding the Rev. Montague J. Brackett, the longtime pastor who had retired the previous year. In 2007, he left his university job in order to become a full-time pastor at the church.
"He was a people person and had a heart of gold. We've grown spiritually because of him," said Edie McCracken, assistant church secretary at Central Baptist. "He was really God-sent as far as a preacher was concerned. He was born for looking after and caring for people. We just loved him."
The Rev. Joseph Lewis, pastor of Greater St. John Baptist Church in Turners Station, got to know Dr. Long through their work together with the Baptist Pastors Conference of Baltimore, where Dr. Long was vice president.
"He was a very good young man and loved working with people," said Mr. Lewis. "I've known him since he started out at Central, and he was a dynamic preacher. He was just a very good young man."
Madge Cannon, who has been a member of Fulton Baptist Church for 73 years, knew Dr. Long through his work with the United Baptist Missionary Convention and Auxiliaries of Maryland.
"I very much enjoyed his sermons, and I'm going to miss him. He was a wonderful person who was always willing to help those in need," Mrs. Cannon said.
Dr. Long was also a member of the Board of Regents of the United Baptist College and Seminary of Baltimore and co-director of the Baptist Aged Home of Maryland.
Ossie Tate Jr. is a deacon at Central.
"In fact, he ordained me as a deacon," Mr. Tate said. "He was a true man of God, very humble, and he was dedicated to spreading the word of God."
Mr. Tate added that Dr. Long was "extremely interested in community outreach and was very active with the church's Love Center, which distributes food packets and clothing to the underprivileged."
In 2005, Dr. Long was presented the Harlow Fullwood Foundation's Valued Service Hours Award, and received numerous citations from the Baltimore City Council for his work.
Dr. Long will lie in repose from noon until 7 p.m. Friday at his church at 2035 W. Baltimore St. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the church.
Surviving are his wife of 16 years, the former April C. Floyd; a son, David M. Long of Columbia; and a sister, Bernice DeLoach of South Carolina.