The City Temple SDA Church has lost an icon. The Lake Region Conference has lost a pioneer. The North American Division has lost a trailblazer. The Seventh-day Adventist denomination has lost a pillar. The Psalmist declares, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Samuel Flagg lived well beyond the fourscore years that the Psalmist says are the domain of the strong and a hallmark of special favor. A true steward of life, Elder Flagg flirted with 100, his strength and stamina taking him within a few years of being a centenarian. Elder Samuel Flagg was a pastor’s pastor who took his call seriously. His legendary ministry grew God’s church and expanded God’s kingdom, and there are several serving in ministry today as a result of his mentorship. Though he was a seasoned minister, Elder Flagg affirmed and empowered younger ministers, always combining his words of instruction and exhortation with words of inspiration. A member of City Temple says that he was baptized by Elder Flagg, who never baptized anyone who had not taken Bible studies in Elder Flagg’s baptismal class. This person says that there were 30 people in the baptismal class when he was in it, and that all 30 were ultimately baptized.

Elder Flagg ended his distinguished ministerial career as the Stewardship Director of the Lake Region Conference. He was the quintessential Christian steward, exemplifying what it means to live in dynamic relationship with the creator God who owns everything. Elder Flagg understood that all we have is on consignment, and that one day we must account for all our possessions. He knew that stewardship encompasses every facet of life, including our time, talents, temple, and treasure, and the example he set as a Christian steward is above reproach and will linger long.

With the passing of Elder Samuel Flagg, the pool of African American pastors who date back to the era when Regional Conferences were in their infancy has shrunk considerably. These men served when racism was rife and rampant, and pervasive and pernicious. They fought the battle in the heat of the day, demonstrating uncommon courage and commitment to the Three Angels Messages of Revelation 14:6-12. Had it not been for their firm conviction that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was God’s true remnant church, they would have walked away from it. Elder Flagg was a pastor when African American ministers still wielded enormous influence in the African American community.

Elder Samuel Flagg was married to his devoted wife for 68 years, falling two years short of earning platinum status as a married man. Samuel and Helen met at Oakwood College and dated for three years before marrying. Their marriage was exemplary is multiple ways, and their two children know that they were blessed to have them as parents.

I have no qualms that one day soon Elder Samuel Flagg will hear from the lips of Jesus the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23). A man of virtue and respect, he now sleeps in Jesus, awaiting the trump of God. Paul affirms that when the trump of God shall sound “the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

On behalf of the entire membership of the Lake Region Conference, I wish to register and convey deepest condolences on the passing of Samuel Flagg. His memory is worthy of honor, and his legacy deserves to be enshrined in our hearts. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

Yours in the blessed hope,

R. Clifford Jones



  1. Nathaniel Harris says:

    A well receved and comfortig message about a wonderful and blessed individual and pastor. Elder Flagg was and is an inspiration to all he came into contact with and by extension to those he never met. I am so glad to have met this Christian human being.

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