In memory of the ‘pastor of the county’

Published 9:47 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Editor,

Rev. Hymon Atcheson of Clanton would have been 100 years old on Nov. 25. He was a preacher and pastor for 63 years, most of the years in Chilton County, where he pastored 12 of 15 churches during his ministry.

He preached the first sermon on WKLF on its opening day on Nov. 12, 1947. His broadcast spanned 53 years, and he preached on his program, “Back To God and the Church,” two months before he passed away at age 89 on Jan. 19, 2001. It was his last sermon. His program theme song was “Where Could I Go” by the Blackwood Brothers. For his years of pastoring and WKLF ministry, some referred to him as the “Pastor of the County.”

Rev. Atcheson was born in the Macedonia community in northern Chilton County in 1911. He began preaching in 1937 at the age of 26. He was a street preacher in the 1940s, preaching six times on Saturdays in Brent, the courthouse steps in Centreville, Maplesville, the courthouse steps in Clanton, Thorsby and Jemison.

He wore out three tents as a tent revival evangelist until the early 50s. In 1995, Samford University honored him as Retired Pastor of the Year at the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

Over the course of his ministry, it is estimated that he preached 9,000 sermons including 3,000 on radio. He baptized 1,200 people, conducted more than 1,000 funerals and married hundreds of couples. He preached or conducted funerals in almost 100 churches not including funeral homes. He also preached countless revival meetings.

He and his wife, Lora Deen Chambers Atcheson, were married for almost 65 years. His faithful and loving wife passed away on January 28, 2005. Their lives began together in Maplesville where they had four sons, Junior (who passed away in 1981), Gerald Atcheson (Birmingham), Wayne Atcheson (Charlotte, N.C.) and Randall Atcheson (Greenwich, Conn.). They were blessed with four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Brother Hymon, as he was affectionally called, had a passion to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had a heart for evangelistic preaching while displaying a winsome personality and love for people. He was a positive Christian role model for his family, who have all served the Lord faithfully through the years.

Wayne Atcheson, Charlotte, N.C.