By Susan Motander
Last week this publication included an article on the retirement of Second Baptist Church’s pastor, Bishop William LaRue Dillard. That article focused on the Bishop’s background and his leadership of the historic church but there is a great deal more to the man.
Information provided by the church outlined a few of his many accomplishments:
“Bishop Dillard has authored several books. An analytical, expositor of Biblical history and eschatological prophetic happenings, his aim is to always declare the authority of the Holy Bible courageously. His motto-‘What God guides, He provides.’ He has been a National Baptist Convention USA instructor, conducted revivals and led symposiums at colleges, universities and conferences, and preached the gospel across the United States and in European and African countries. He has served and held leadership positions with the Tri-County District Association, Western Baptist State Convention and Providence Missionary Baptist District Association that demonstrate his witness – ‘I’d rather wear out for God than rust out for the devil.’
“His personal struggles are a testimony of his unwavering faith and have been an inspiration to so many lately. In dire need of a heart and just days from being dropped from the transplant list, Bishop Dillard received a new heart on Sept. 6, 2014. Bishop Dillard is the oldest heart transplant survivor in the world.”
Even with all this, that is not the whole story. Coming to his Monrovia church home in 1974, he led his church through some troubling times. There have been racial and gang struggles over the years. When he first arrived, the city was in disarray, virtually dying. The bishop was one of several ministers who worked with the city staff and elected officials to turn the city around. The Monrovia of today is also a part of his legacy.
If all this were not enough, when he found some of his older parishioners were in danger of being swindled and losing their homes, he worked to found Set for Life, an organization that works to educate and assist seniors.
Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments is his loving family. He and his beloved wife, his “Apple Blossom” Betty Gaye, have five adult children: Balinda, Stephanie, Herbert (a deceased military veteran), Tirrell and Raven (and her husband, Devon Johnson). There are also three grandchildren, Dylan, Caleb and Aubrey. Raven may have given her father his greatest birthday present: Aubrey was born on the Bishop’s 80th birthday.