Remembering Pastor Leroy Reeves, Jr.

by Clarence Carner, Jr.

It seems that life has a way of opening eyes and doors as we pass along this narrow way. God has a way of making us better, especially since accepting Christ. By this I am reminded of a passage from Malachi, chapter 3, verses 2 and 3, “For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver”. Sometimes we are refined and purified by the people we meet, a simple conversation or just by meeting on common ground.


During the fall of 2014, Pastor Walter L. Glover and I began working a project to develop a website for Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church. Only God knew where this very special project would take me.  Moderator Glover arranged for a photo shoot at Greater Zion Hill to capture the church family.  During that photo shoot, Pastor Glover (The Great Moderator) said to me, “I am going to put you on another project” and he introduced me to Jeanette Cubbage, the Executive Secretary of the Union Missionary Baptist Association. He wanted me to development a website for the association as well.  She quickly invited me to several events including; a district meeting at Center Hill Baptist Church where I was allowed to introduce myself and inform the district members of my skills and what I could do for their ministry. It was here that I would become acquainted with Pastor Leroy Reeves. We had been schoolmates at Ballard-Hudson Senior High. I remembered  his young face very well. He had bright brown eyes and a neatly trimmed haircut and you can readily observe from this photograph from the 1962 yearbook.

As I sat on a pew on the left side of the church, I noticed a man that I thought I knew coming towards me. He sat on the pew behind me, got my attention with a shoulder tap, and passed me his card. It was Pastor Leroy Reeves, Jr. He told me that Center Hill had a website but he wanted it to be better and kept current. I promised him that I could together with Sister Johnson make an improvement and keep the site current.

Our first meeting concerning the website was so light and cordial. I presented the quote for the site and we agreed on the cost and how the site would be designed. He was such a gentle giant, never demanding and always respected my creativity as a web designer. He made several light recommendations concerning the pictures of the buildings to be shown on the website. Working this project with Pastor Reeves was a completely unique experience especially after working with some other pastors.  Little did I know at this point, I was being refined by the Refiner and laundered by the Launder’s soap.

Our second meeting was the most memorable. We recounted our days at Ballard-Hudson. His face beamed as he talked about his childhood sweetheart, Deloris Chambliss Reeves.   We talked about our careers while working on Robins Air Force Base. He had retired from the base  and so had I.  We talked about retirement and  joy of it all. As I looked around his office, I discovered several golf artifacts, that too we had in common. He told me that he was preparing to retire as Senior Pastor of Center Hill and was praying for a smooth transition.  We both had endured the same health issues and we discussed that as well. 

Through all of our conversations about the past, present and future, I found him to be most sincere and perfectly content about his pastorate at Center Hill Baptist Church. He seemed to always have the desire to move forward with in his endeavors. I became acquainted with an old schoolmate who through his demeanor, his devotion to the church in which he served made me, Clarence Carner, Jr. a better Christian.