Bro. Ron Wilson bids fond farewell to FBC
Tracy L. Brady, Hartselle Enquirer
In August 1972, Ron Wilson found himself at Samford University as a freshman football player. Exactly 30 years later, he is returning as an employee.
Wilson's first visit to Hartselle was in the fall of 1974 as scorekeeper for a high school football game.
"I came with my friend Ray Howell, Dolly Howell's son, to a Hartselle High School football game. I remember Hartselle beat the other team pretty soundly," Wilson recalled.
Wilson's next visit was on the first Sunday of 1989 when he returned as the new pastor of First Baptist Church.
Since that day, Wilson, better known as Bro. Ron, and his family have called Hartselle home.
"My very first Sunday as pastor at First Baptist Church was Jan. 1, 1989. My family and I believe in the providence of God, and that's what brought us here."
After more than 14 years in God's service at First Baptist, Wilson returned this week to his alma matter as a development officer in university relations. In his new position, Wilson will develop relationships with graduates and fellow alumnus and encourage them to stay actively involved at Samford University.
His son, Matthew, is majoring in business at Samford.
"It's unusual for a Baptist preacher to have a child to attend kindergarten through 12th grade at the same school," Wilson said. "That says something great about First Baptist Church. Our family is extremely grateful for that."
While Wilson said he will miss the First Baptist congregation and the city of Hartselle, he is excited about returning to Samford.
"It was a good school when I was there," Wilson said. "It's a great school now. My wife, Jody, and I prayed a lot about the move. Through God's providence, we know the move is right and we are extremely excited about it.'
Wilson said he will actively seek interim or fill-in pastoral positions in nearby churches while working at Samford. He also hopes to move from administration to teaching.
"That would be Heaven on Earth for me," Wilson said.
Wilson fondly recalled his involvement in the Hartselle community with organizations like the Hartselle Tigers football team, Habitat for Humanity, The Caring Place and Rotary Club.
"It has been one of the true joys of my life to work in a city where you are encouraged and invited to be a part of the community," Wilson said. "Hartselle will only be as good in the future as those who are willing to contribute their time and energy."
And, knowing the people of Hartselle as he does, Wilson believes Hartselle will continue to grow and thrive.