Baptist Church Founder William Lawson Dies at 95

Baptist Church Founder William Lawson Dies at 95
Baptist Church Founder William Lawson Dies at 95

Baptist Church Founder William Lawson Dies at 95

The founder of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church of Houston, Rev. William Lawson, popularly known as “Houston’s Pastor,” has died at 95.

His demise was announced Tuesday in a statement by Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. “It is with both inexpressible sorrow and overwhelming gratitude that we announce the passing of our Founding Pastor, Reverend William A. Lawson on May 14, 2024,” the announcement shared on Facebook read. “He has completed his time of service here on earth and is now enjoying eternal rest.”

Born June 28, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Rev. Lawson passed away less than 2 months before his 96th birthday. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, leadership, and activism. He is survived by his daughters, Melanie, Cheryl, and Roxanne; granddaughters Robyn and Raven; and great-grandsons Amadeus and Roni.

“In his nearly 96 years, Reverend Lawson has served as husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, as well as preacher, professor, and civil rights leader,” the statement continues. But whatever title you may have used to describe him, it has been said many times that Reverend Bill Lawson was “Houston’s Pastor.”

Lawson graduated from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in 1955 with a Bachelor of Divinity in New Testament Interpretation and a Master of Theology.

He worked as the director of the Baptist Student Union and a professor at Texas Southern University in the 1960s, and he also helped establish the University of Houston’s Afro-American Studies Program.

In 1962, he founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, where he was pastor for 42 years. Following his retirement in 2004, the church bestowed upon him the title and honor of Founding Pastor Emeritus in recognition of his outstanding years of service and leadership.

Beyond the walls of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Lawson was a veteran civil rights activist, leaving an undeniable mark on the fight for justice.

A public visitation will be held on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. A community service celebration will follow at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23rd. Additionally, the Congregational Service of Celebration will be held at the church on Friday, May 24th, at 11:00 a.m.

Details are available on the Johnson Funeral Home website for those wishing to send flowers or plant trees in memory of Rev. William Alexander Lawson.

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