POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. – Those who knew Bernard Weaver best have hailed him as the quintessential pastor. Weaver passed away Monday at the age of 94.
John Yarborough, veteran Georgia Baptist pastor and current Director of Public Policy at Truett McConnell University, referred to Weaver as a mentor to him. Yarbrough explained, “Bernard Weaver demonstrated how a man called of God to be a pastor should love His people and serve them unselfishly. I have known some great preachers and some effective leaders, but I have never known anyone who could care for the flock of God as effectively and lovingly as Pastor Weaver.”
Yarbrough continued, “I had the privilege of working with him as his student pastor during his time at Chattahoochee. I observed that he had his role as pastor perfected to a science and the people of the church knew he was going to see them through every crisis and every heartache of life.”
Dr. Ike Reighard, pastor of Piedmont Church in Marietta and President and CEO of MUST Ministries, also knew Weaver during his college days and explained, “Pastor Weaver served the Lord by serving God’s people. His demeanor was full of grace. He was a gentleman’s gentleman and a Christian’s Christian. He was a diplomat in many ways, but he never compromised on his convictions. I watched him serve the people God had entrusted him with Christ-like love and compassion.”
Bernard Weaver was born on February 18, 1928, in Wallins Creek, Kentucky. He made his profession of faith in Jesus Christ at the Wallins Baptist Church at a young age. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry by the Mount Harmony Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., on July 18, 1954.
During the time of the Korean War, Weaver served in the United States Army (1950 to 1952). He then began his education for the ministry and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson Newman College (1955) and his Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (1960).
While at Carson Newman, Weaver met Billie Jean Owen, the young lady who became his wife and to whom he was married for sixty years until her death in 2011. The Weavers are survived by two children, Mark Weaver and Leticia Norton, one grandson and five great-grandchildren. One daughter, Idava Bellah, preceded her parents in death.
Weaver’s daughter, Leticia, commented, “Daddy was a true servant of the people. He was always present in the lives of those who were experiencing sickness or bereavement. Before he even officially started his tenure as the pastor at Chattahoochee, he visited with two new mothers who had just given birth to their babies. He always seemed to be busy with his church responsibilities, but he was also a good father and raised us up to have great values and to honor the Lord.”
While at Carson Newman, Weaver served on the staff of Mount Harmony Baptist Church in Knoxville; and during his seminary training at New Orleans, he was the associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Kenner, La.
The native of Wallins Creek served as pastor of Mandeville Baptist Church, Mandeville, Louisiana (1957-1960), Roseland Baptist Church, Roseland, Louisiana (1960-1962), Associate Pastor of Baptist Tabernacle, Atlanta, Georgia (1962-1964), Pastor of First Baptist Church, Chattahoochee, Atlanta, Georgia (1964-1971), Lithia Heights Baptist Church, Lithia Springs, Georgia (1971-1974), Connally Drive Baptist Church, East Point, Georgia (1975-1984), Buckhead Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia (1984-1988). He also worked at the Atlanta Union Mission from 1988 to 1991; and returned to First Baptist Church, Chattahoochee, Atlanta from 1990 to 1996 as the part-time associate pastor and minister to senior adults.
Weaver was also intricately involved in denominational life as moderator of the Atlanta Baptist Association, president of the Atlanta Pastor’s Conference, president of the New Orleans National Alumni Association, trustee of Penfield Christian Home for Recovering Alcoholics and served on the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church Chattahoochee, Atlanta, Ga., with Reverends Clint Watson, John Yarbrough, and John Darnell officiating. His desire was for his body to be donated to Emory University.
Now here is a word to pastors: there is not any of us who have such an unfailing, high opinion of ourselves that we cannot see some things in the lives of others that we would like to find in ourselves – some traits of personality and character and usefulness in the service of the Lord that one might covet to be his own.
It would seem that in reviewing the life of Bernard Weaver we see some things that are brought to the surface in the life of this godly servant of Christ that we would like to find evident in our own lives. Peter wrote, “…as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you” (I Peter 5:1-2a). It is an admonition for all pastors and all believers who care to be more like the Master.
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