Rev. Harry Reeder III, longtime pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, was killed this morning (May 18) in an automobile crash in Shelby County.
Authorities said a dump truck driver was stopped to make a turn when Reeder’s vehicle crashed into the rear of the truck. Reeder, 75, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to news reports.
Reeder was returning home from Montgomery, where he had spoken at an ALCAP prayer breakfast.
Greg Davis, ALCAP president, said in a Facebook post, “I have not words to express my sense of shock. Dr. Reeder spoke in Montgomery Thursday morning at our ALCAP weekly breakfast and never made it home. We are devastated at this news.”
In a letter to the Briarwood congregation posted to the church’s website, executive pastor J. Bruce Stallings confirmed Reeder’s death and said:
“It is with a deeply heavy heart that I communicate to you that our Lord has called Pastor Reeder home through a car accident. Please pray for Cindy, Jennifer, Ike, Abby and their entire family as well as our staff and church family as we all grieve this tremendous loss together.
“But we do not grieve without hope because we know our pastor is with His Savior and has been received by grace with — ‘Well done My good and faithful servant.'”
Reeder has served as the church’s senior pastor since Briarwood founder the Rev. Frank Barker retired from the pulpit in 1999. Barker oversaw Reeder’s transition to senior pastor. The church has more than 4,000 members.
Davis told The Alabama Baptist that he had “spent an hour with [Reeder] last night at the hotel. He poured into me and encouraged me greatly.”
Davis said Reeder “shared a powerful message with our legislators and guests and ended with a simple gospel presentation.”
In a Facebook post, Davis added, “This was his biblical text this morning, along with the three C’s of leadership, character, content and competency: ‘Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith’ (Heb. 13:7).”
Davis called Reeder a model of servant leadership and said Briarwood has supported ALCAP for many years.
Joe Godfrey, former president of ALCAP also remembered Reeder and said in a Facebook post, “Our prayers are with all of our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. … We are especially praying for his wife, children and other family members.”
Davis said Priority Talk Radio will honor Reeder at 5 p.m. Tune in at prioritytalkradio.com or at WXJC Radio 101.1FM.
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