Tribute to Rev. Tommie L. Lewis in Honor of 30Th Anniversary as Pastor of Bethel Baptist Churchby Representative Terri A. Sewell
Posted on 2013-02-12
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Ms. SEWELL of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the
30th pastoral anniversary of Dr. Tommie L. Lewis, pastor of Bethel
Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Since 1982, this dedicated
servant has led the congregation of Bethel Baptist Church to new
horizons in ministry. I am pleased to honor Pastor Lewis and join with
his congregation in celebrating 30 years of excellence in leadership
and service to the Lord. Pastor Lewis answered his call to minister on
January 6, 1973 at the Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church. For more
than 40 years, Pastor Lewis has been led by his faith to minister and
spread his message of service and commitment to mankind. While he has
served at other churches, Pastor Lewis is most celebrated for all that
he contributed to the Bethel Baptist Church family, affectionately
known as ``Bethel Nation''. Under his 30 year leadership, Bethel Nation
has grown to a membership of over 5,000 worshippers and currently
stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration in the Pratt City community.
Pastor Lewis has shaped a legacy defined by numerous ministries that
reach far beyond the church sanctuary. In both his professional and
spiritual life, his character has been defined by his willingness to
serve, his unselfish generosity and his unwaverering commitment to
making a difference in the lives of others. He uses his clergy position
as a powerful force for good throughout this world.
Pastor Lewis is an accomplished biblical scholar. He attended the Birmingham Easonian Baptist Bible College and the Universal Bible Institute in Brunswick, Georgia. Pastor Lewis is also the recipient of various honorary doctorate degrees as a result of his varied contributions to the ministry and public service. Through the years, in addition to his dedicated service to Birmingham, Pastor Lewis has also sought to share his spiritual teachings all over the world. He has ministered to and delivered sermons throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. But no matter where his ministry has taken him, Pastor Lewis is forever committed to home. Pastor Lewis has led by example and displayed his commitment to public service through his affiliation with various religious and civic organizations aimed at empowering the lives of those that he serves. His involvement include but are not limited to: the Pratt City Ministerial Alliance, the Birmingham Metropolitan Baptist Ministerial Conference and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Pastor Lewis also worked to transform the trajectory of his community through his service as former Captain for the Bessemer Police and Fire Department Chaplaincy Corps and the former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Transit Authority. Pastor Lewis currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Jefferson County Commission of Economic Opportunity and State President for the National Rainbow Push Coalition. In 1998, he received one of Birmingham's highest honors when he was inducted into the City of Birmingham Gallery of Distinguished Citizens.
In the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes, which completely destroyed Bethel Baptist Church, Pastor Lewis' faith and determination has been unwavering as he continues to minister to his congregation as they rebuild a stronger Bethel Nation. He continues to be grounded in God's mercy and grace giving hope to the hopeless and providing opportunities for the least amongst us.
While his contributions and accolades are large in number, I am especially grateful for the servant leadership that Pastor Lewis has shown to the 7th Congressional District of Alabama. He has made an inedible imprint on the lives of so many of us through his ministries. We are blessed by his visionary leadership. Therefore, it is with pride and a humble heart that I pay tribute to Pastor TL Lewis in recognition and appreciation of his 30th pastoral anniversary at Bethel Baptist Church. And so it shall be transcribed in the annuals of the United States House of Representatives that special recognition be made to Reverend Dr. Tommie L. Lewis on behalf of a grateful nation.