March 4, 1885 - January 17, 1965
|Brother Lee’s life reads like a page from a History of Early Methodism in America. He was made out of the stuff that made our Church great in its younger days, and he carried that zeal to the end of his life.
Born in Monterey, Tennessee, March 4, 1885, John Wesley Lee was destined for a long and fruitful life and Ministry first in the Methodist Protestant Church, then United Methodism. His parents died so early in his life, formal education was out of the question for him. Feeling the Call to Preach so strongly, he could not resist; yet discouraged by those who knew and loved him because of his lack of training, his beginning was a venture in faith.
He was Ordained by the former Methodist Protestant Church in 1909, and became one of its most beloved and definitely one of its strongest leaders. He served in its places of greatest responsibility and honor, concluding as its President for five years prior to Unification. He served its highest and lowest Churches, and knew and loved this fine Church as few men did.
Brother Lee came to the Union with enthusiasm and led his fellow-pastors and fellow members to do so. From the beginning, he was a beloved Minister of The Methodist Church. He was elected a delegate to the Uniting General Conference, and the Jurisdictional Conference of that same year. Since then, he served Churches with distinction and fidelity.
Outstanding as a family man, he reared twenty-two children, eighteen of them being his own. One of his greatest joys and proudest possessions was this large and happy family. They had great pride in his a7bility and spirit, and as the Holy Scripture says, “rise up and call him blessed,” today. He also had, perhaps, more “sons in the Gospel” than any man in the Louisiana Conference. Records did not seem important to him at the time. He was more concerned with making History than recording it, but more than twenty men are now in the Ministry of the Church due to his influence and guidance.
Brother Lee took the Superannuate Relationship in the Church in 1953, but continued to serve for a long time. Some of his finest Pas-torates came after this such as rebuilding the Oak Grove Church in the Alexandria District, building the Sanctuary of the College Avenue Church in Natchitoches, and others. He served fifty-two years in all.
On January 17, 1965, he fell on sleep, quietly in the night. His family found him with his Sunday School lesson by his side to tell of his last activities. Among his beloved family and many dear friends, he was buried from the Church he had built His beloved young Pastor, whose hand he had held up always, conducted his final rites on earth, but no one present felt this was the end of Brother Lee.
This Memorial ends with some words from the pen of Brother Lee himself, directed to his brethren of the Ministry. “I leave unto you, my fellow ministers, a testimony that God is able to see you through, if you will live by Romans 12:1, I Corinthians 13, and by I John 4:17-20.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 215-216, 1965 by Jolly B. Harper.|