Harry Reeder: Thoughts from a Grateful Neighbor

I distinctly recall the first time I met Harry Reeder. He had recently come to be the pastor at Briarwood Presbyterian Church and we had a graveside funeral together at Elmwood. How did that happen? The deceased was a Briarwood member whom I had gotten to know because I pastored his daughter and family. They had a graveside only funeral and asked me share a few words before Dr. Reeder spoke. Here I was, the young 20-something pastor of a small Baptist church in Blount county conducting a funeral with Harry Reeder. I was in WAAAY over my head! However, Harry was very kind and gracious to this young pastor he had never met.

Fast forward to 2013 when I was called as pastor at Lakeside Baptist Church off I-450/Actor Road exit. Now I was literally just across Acton Road from Briarwood. Harry Reeder and I were now neighboring pastors! Over the years, I became privileged to count him as a friend. I was with him at a few community pastor’s events. Both of our boys graduated from Briarwood Christian School and our paths crossed several times. We knew one another and chatted briefly when we saw each other. Once we shared a laugh about how the Acton Road exit is a great illustration of different strands of evangelical theology: Metropolitan Church of God on one hill with Briarwood Presbyterian on the other hill – and the Baptists right between them! He loved the visual!

While I did know him, mostly I appreciated Harry Reeder and his ministry from a short distance. I often listened to his preaching and followed him on social media. My last interaction with him came back in April after he had preached at the Ligonier Conference. I watched his message online and was so moved I sent him an email of appreciation. He responded with his typical graciousness and we made plans to have lunch together. Sadly, that never happened. Tragically and shockingly, Harry Reeder went to be with the Lord on May 18 in a car accident. I have many friends at Briarwood Presbyterian Church who are in profound, shocked grief. I have prayed much for the Reeder family and Briarwood.

As a neighboring pastor, I had a TON of respect for Harry Reeder and his ministry. He was a tremendous Bible preacher who always shared the gospel and pointed people to Christ in every message. He had a tremendous intellect and used it to speak to issues of our day with a clear, Biblical worldview. He was a steadfast, unbending defender of life, truth, and righteousness. You never had to wonder where Harry Reeder stood – he told you! By all accounts, he was not just a bold preacher. He was a faithful husband, father, grandfather, pastor, and friend – in that order. For these reasons and many more, I had the utmost respect for Harry Reeder.

Count me a grateful friend and neighbor for the life and ministry of Harry Reeder. Well done, good and faithful servant!

One thought on “Harry Reeder: Thoughts from a Grateful Neighbor

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to a true man of God. May the Lord bring peace and comfort to his family and his church congregation.

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