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Briarwood Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Dead in Birmingham Car Crash

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Briarwood Presbyterian Church senior pastor the Rev. Harry Reeder III was killed in a car crash May 18 near Birmingham, Alabama.

Reeder, 75, had been pastor of the church founded by The Rev. Frank Barker in 1960 since Barker’s retirement in 1999. Briarwood, a member of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), has more than 4,000 members.

Authorities said Reeder’s vehicle rear-ended a stopped dump truck, AL.com reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Shelby County Coroner’s Office.

In a statement to AL.com, Briarwood Executive Pastor Bruce Stallings 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…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 and his wife Cindy are natives of Charlotte, North Carolina, and have three children and 10 grandchildren, according to his biography on the church’s website.

Reeder began his undergraduate work at East Carolina University and finished it at Covenant College, graduating in 1974.  He attended Tennessee Temple Seminary and completed a Master of Divinity degree with Westminster Seminary through the Florida Theological Center.

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He began his pastoral service in Chattanooga, Tennessee before moving to Pinelands Presbyterian Church in Miami, growing attendance there from 50 to more than 400 during his three years there.

In February of 1983, he became the founding pastor of Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church, growing that congregation from 38 to more than 3,000 over 17 years and planting several churches.

As he replaced Barker, who died in 2021 at age 89, in 1999, Reeder called him a “mentor in Gospel ministry” and a “humble, godly, visionary friend and pastor.”

Reeder hosted a Bible teaching radio ministry, “In Perspective,” each weekday on stations around the country as well as a daily short podcast called “Today in Perspective” and a five-minute devotional, “Fresh Bread.”

Reeder published the books “The Leadership Dynamic” and “From Embers to a Flame – How God Can Revitalize Your Church. he spoke at conferences on topics including Christian manhood and Biblical masculinity, as well as hosting multiple “Embers to a Flame” church revitalization conferences each year.

He served as an adjunct faculty member at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, and at Birmingham Theological Seminary in Birmingham, Alabama and Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, where he also serves on the board of trustees.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.