by Robert Earl Houston
My heart is very heavy to hear of the homegoing of my friend and my mentor, Dr. Tony Lloyd Lewis, retired pastor of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California and former pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church of Pomona, California and the church where I was baptized, the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon.
He was a native Louisianan, where he went home after a lengthy illness. He was a proud graduate of Bishop College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he earned his D.Min. Dr. Lewis was one of the original contributors to The Sermon Sharing Service and even after he formally retired, his written sermons were heard around the world.
Dr. Lewis inspired and theologically challenged and stretched me – many a late night evening was spent on the phone jousting with him about politics (he was a political junkie of the highest order), life, marriage, church, and church life. It was not unusual to hear him pivot mentally from one subject to the next and he had a tremendous sense of humor.
Academically, he was one of my profs at North Portland Bible College (briefly) and he is the one who told me about a church in Fresno, California, the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. We became quick friends when he was called to pastor the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, succeeding the Rev. LeeArthur J. Madison. Morning Star was the church where I gave my life to the Lord under the founder’s leadership, Rev. Sylvester McCullumn and where my mother and sisters are members to this day.
He was on the ordination council when me and Rev. Walter Monroe Brown, Jr. were ordained. We pastored together and fellowshipped together when I became the pastor of the Greater St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church succeeding the late Reverend Amzie Bailey, Jr.
Dr. Lewis was the author of the “Battlefield” and “Pallbearers” trilogies published by R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation in Nashville. He was kind enough to include me in several of the introductions of his books, and I had the priviledge of doing so upon publication of my first book, “See You In the Morning,” in return.
Denominationally, Dr. Lewis was the Vice Moderator of the Union District in Portland, and when he moved to Pomona, he discovered there was no local fellowship of Baptist Churches and he organized and served as the First Moderator of the San Gabriel Valley District Association (I believe that was the name of it).
When I was a young pastor, I was asked to produce the Musical for the General Baptist Convention of the Northwest, and we had a packed-out house. I invited the Governor and the Mayor and I made one mistake – I forgot to include a photo of the State President. Several of the local pastors wanted the State President to hang me to the wall for this “unforgettable act.” It was two people who “saved” me that night. One was Portland’s Mayor J.E. “Bud” Clark, who said, “Dr. O.B. Williams – I know you are proud to have young men around you like Pastor Houston, who has worked hard to make this event successful.” Then Dr. Lewis got up and said, “Brother President, we don’t need a photo of you in the program, we already have your image in our hearts.” Whew, I was saved!!!
He suffered with illness and had to retire from active pastoring but he always told me – “Bob (that’s what he called me), man, make sure you take care of your health.” After moving from Los Angeles, he went home to his native Lake Charles, Louisiana. He would be asked by a local church to teach every now and then and he relished the opportunity and prepared for the classes with the zeal of a true soldier in Christ.
He passed away last night. Today, Dr. Lewis is healed throughout eternity. My condolences and the prayers and support of the First Baptist Church (which is the only church I pastored where he didn’t stand in the pulpit and preach due to illness) in Frankfort, go to his family. This is a great loss on the earth and a great addition in the heavenlies. T.L., I’ll see you in the morning.
HOMEGOING INFORMATION WILL BE INCLUDED ONCE IT IS RECEIVED.
Your comments are welcomed.