BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Thursday, members of the Alabama Senate silently bowed their heads to honor Harry Reeder, the late pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church.
Reeder, who had led the church since 1999, had been in Montgomery with lawmakers earlier that morning, hours before he was killed in a car accident on his way back home.
Reeder’s life touched so many across the Birmingham area and beyond, with the word “leader” repeatedly used to describe him. Those who knew and loved him said his impact will be felt across the city in ways some may not realize.
“He didn’t just settle for status quo,” said Frank Woodson, who considered Reeder as a mentor.
Woodson said Reeder didn’t just have a passion for helping leaders, but also the community.
“I remember when the staff was saying ‘Let’s bus in more Black kids from the inner-city into Briarwood,'” he said. “He challenged them, he said ‘No, let’s build a greater capacity within the inner city to educate the children that live there so that mobility would not be an issue for the ones that need it the most,'”
Reeder’s friends described the late evangelist as a pragmatic, logical man. Many who were mentored by him said his words of wisdom have stuck with them, becoming advice they hand out to others.
“His whole deal on developing leaders caused me to disciple more than 100 leaders, work with young men that were in leadership that were in the inner-city and suburbs as well,” Woodson said.
Beyond being a strong leader, Reeder was also known as a great friend.
“I truly believe with all my heart that God just put him in my path for my journey and his journey,” Urban Hope Community Church Pastor Alton Hardy said. “I kind of looked to him just more of a father figure in that sense when I would meet with him I would ask him questions about manhood, marriage and stuff of that nature.”
Reeder’s loved ones say while it is sad that he’s no longer with them on earth, they look forward to the day they can see and talk to him again in heaven.