SOUTH BOSTON, Va. -

One Halifax County church was in high spirits today, celebrating a big milestone for it's most influential parishioners.

Talk to anyone at Mount Olive Baptist Church and they'll tell you Raymond Shelton is a special guy.

But what makes him special is not just his experience, but what he's done with it.

If the soul of a church is its sound, then Mount Olive Church in South Boston is alive and well.

"Playing the piano, that's what he does, he does a wonderful job, we love him. He's been doing that for years," parishioner Jackie Morris said.

"For us, it is just a tremendous blessing," said Pastor Brandon Smith

For decades, Raymond Shelton has led the chorus.

"I don't feel right if I'm not in church on Sunday," Shelton said.

When he was a teenager, Shelton took an interest in music, in the piano, begged his parents for one. And in the middle of the great depression, they finally gave in and got him one. He's been playing ever since.

"I loved it so much, she had to tell me to get off the piano," Shelton said laughing.

What makes Raymond Shelton so amazing is not just that he plays the piano here every Sunday, not just that he plays at a different nursing home every week.

What makes Raymond Shelton so amazing is that he's doing it all as he gets ready to celebrate his 100th birthday.

"I'm a firm believer that we have to embrace our legacy and embrace our past, because that kind of lets us in on who we are," Pastor Smith said, "When you see a guy like that, you have to be insipred in some type of way."

"I just think it's awesome, it's a blessing, I just learned so much just by watching him. It makes me want to do more for the community," said Jackie Morris.

Sunday's service was partly dedicated to Mr. Shelton, as everyone calls him.

He thought church was done for the day but it wasn't, Shelton had a big surprise party waiting for him in the social hall.

Shelton says the secret to his age is that he stays around young people, he says it rejuvinates and inspires him, and keeps him young.

If the soul of a church is it's sound, this church is alive and well.

Most people in the church can probably think of at least 100 reasons why.

Parishioners at Mount Olive told me I came on a bad week because his car's in the shop; Raymond Shelton still drives.

As a matter of fact, the church's birthday present to him was his own parking space.