Remembering Rev. Lawson, Houston's Pastor, a Celebration of Life

The man known as "Houston's Pastor" is being honored and remembered. Since 9 a.m., a stream of Houstonians have been going by Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church to pay their respects to Rev. William Lawson, Wheeler's founder.

It's a church Rev. Lawson started with his wife, Audrey Lawson, with just 13 members back in 1962.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church founder Rev. William Lawson dies at 95

The long-time pastor was also a civil rights pioneer, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even championing the cause as recently as after George Floyd's death.

The husband, father and grandfather was a peacemaker who successfully worked to deescalate intense situations. For decades, mayors and police chiefs have called upon him to help with community relations. 

Reverend Lawson's pastoral robe is displayed on a chair in the pulpit just behind his casket, which is surrounded by beautiful flowers and photos.

The viewing at Wheeler Avenue gives the community, his former flock, family and friends a chance to remember and honor a man who touched so many lives.

"He's at rest now, and I know everything will be alright because we have his legacy. We just have to follow in his footsteps. He helped so many people. He taught people the Word. He not only taught the Word, he lived the Word," explains friend and longtime church member Beatrice Sias.

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At 5 p.m., church leaders will line up for a special procession to escort the well-loved Rev. Lawson from his original sanctuary to Wheeler's new cathedral and the Celebration of Life service will begin at 6 p.m.

"Reverend Lawson was a beacon of light and civil rights for our community and actually the nation," says church member Ellena Huckaby.

"I can remember from way back in the '60's. We lived in the Third Ward area. So, we used to walk from Cleburne and Almeda down here to the church. He just had a good spirit about himself. He was soft-spoken," says Erma Trotty.

"But whatever he said it sunk into your soul, your spirit," adds current Wheeler member Deshawn Skipper.

"He deserves this rest. We didn't want to see him go, but he's certainly with the angels and his beloved wife," says Cheryl Washington.

Reverend Lawson was 95-years-old.