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Baptists Leaders Thankful For Their Blessingscomment (0)

February 20, 2003

By Johnie Sentell

One of the “new pastors” around the state is at Bessemer Asso­ciation’s Sylvan Springs First Baptist Church. His name, Bro. Cecil Nelson, might sound familiar, since he came out of retirement to serve the church as interim pastor. Last fall he was asked to become their pastor.

Brother Nelson grew up near Thomasville in Clarke Association and first served as pastor of churches in Bethel Association (Marengo Co.). He later served several years as pastor of Macedonia Bap­­tist Church (now Southcrest) in Bessemer Asso­ciation. He retired after more than 30 years as pastor of West Side Baptist Church, Bes­semer.

As a teenager Bro. Nelson was saved during a revival led by a former opera singer turned evangelist. That preacher was Teyet Ramar, who was also known by the Native American name of Chief White Feather and who was a grandson of the famous Chief Sitting Bull.

Years later, in appreciation of the evangelist who won him to the Lord, Bro. Nelson gave his son Ronald a special middle name, Ramar. That son, Ronnie, is also in Christian ministry. He serves as minister of music at North High­lands Baptist Church in Huey­town.

Later on this year, Bro. Cecil Nelson plans to take a trip out west, and he hopes to visit the grave of Teyet Ramar in Tucson, Ariz.

Deep appreciation for another evangelist was recently expressed at the Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference.

As state evangelism director Sammy Gilbreath was introducing guest speaker Bob Pitman of Tennessee, he mentioned some help Bro. Pitman gave him in 1987 while they were both serving as pastors in Col­bert-Lauderdale Association.

One Thursday evening Bro. Gilbreath was expecting a visiting evangelist to arrive and speak at his church, Highland Baptist in Florence. However, the speaker called from the Atlanta airport to say he couldn’t make it. His flight had been delayed by a storm.

Quickly Bro. Gilbreath called the home of Bro. Pitman, who was serving across the Ten­nessee River at Muscle Shoals First Baptist Church. He was in his yard cutting the grass, but he “grabbed his Right Guard and a clean shirt” and hurried over to preach.

The Gilbreaths won’t ever forget that night, because one person who made a profession of faith that evening was their own young daughter, Brynn. She is now a senior at the University of Mobile.

During Dr. Edgar Arendall’s long tenure as pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birm­ingham, 1948–1984, many people were won to the Lord.

Former staff members who served with him there had a reunion this month. They joined him in recalling memorable times and catching up on each other’s families and activities.

After many appreciative words had been spoken, Dr. Arendall spoke briefly about the joys of winning people to the Lord at Dawson and seeing them grow in grace.

However, people who have known Dr. Arendall through the years would not have been surprised to hear his statement summarizing those years at Dawson. He gave all ­credit to God, noting the things that were accomplished were possible only because His hand was on the church.

Every good gift comes from our heavenly Father. We don’t thank Him nearly enough, do we?
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