November 23, 1858 - April 27, 1942
|The Louisiana Conference never had a more loyal, faithful and unselfish preacher than J. B. Williams. Jesus said: ‘He that would be greatest among you, let him be servant of all”. Measured after this standard, “Brother Bloss”, as he was affectionately called, merited and occupied a place in the top rank of our outstanding ministers. Measured after this standard he was truly a great man.
He was great in his humility. It was in deep humility that he surrendered his life and his all to God. He never forgot the fact that he was God’s minister. He walked humbly before Him and was ever conscious of His presence. “He never thought more highly of himself than he ought to think.” Even when called upon to exercise the authority of his office he was always kind and considerate. He had nothing of the spirit of the overlord or dictator. Yet with all his humility he dared to do the right as he saw it, regardless of the consequences. HE was a humble man, yet courageous and unafraid..
He was great in his simplicity. He was simple in all his habits, his dress, his food and his manner of life. He never made any attempt at being showy or spectacular. His sermons were as simple as the Sermon on the Mount. He preached to his congregation rather than to his subject. The children of the congregation knew what he was talking about. The objective of his preaching was much more than imparting information; it was to bring comfort, inspiration and help to all ‘who heard. The simple ministry of this good man, both as pastor and preacher, will have its influence far beyond those immedi-ately affected by it.
He was great in his sincerity. More than once he was appointed to a charge where confidence in the minister needed to be restored. At the time this was the greatest need. The people were wondering if all the preachers were like the one who failed them and had gone so far astray. The church was disrupted and the shortcomings of the preacher were the gossip of the community. Invariably the Bishop and his cabinet would turn to brother Williams as the man who could most easily restore confidence and correct the great harm that had been done. Everybody loved him and trusted him. His simple sin-cerity always inspired confidence.
He was great in service, in the length and quality of it. During the forty—six ~ears of his active ministry iii the Louisiana Conference lie served the following churches and in the order named: Wesley Circuit, Haughton, Pleasant , Pelican, Lisbon, Gibsland, Bienville, Grand Cane, Lisbon, Clinton, Ponchatoula Many, Rayne, Lake Charles District, Coushatta and Plain Dealing. He retired at the Winnfield Conference, Nov. 23, 1933, on his 75th birthday. The last eight years of his earthly life were spent at Many, La. During these years of retirement he preached often, taught a Sunday school class regularly and ministered to many. For fifty-three years this good man gave himself without stint to the love task of helping people and building the Kingdom of God in the earth.
He was great in his friendships. He practiced, whether con-sciously or unconsciously, the teachings of Jesus: “He that would have friends must show himself friendly.” lie had a large place in his great heart for many People—and there was always room for more. He was making new friends up to the day of his death. He cherished no grudges; he could pray with sincerity and assurance—”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive—”. His going has left us with a deep sense of loneliness. We miss him very much.
He was great in his fidelity. He was faithful to every trust. He went to his appointments without murmur or complaint. He was thoroughly dependable and reliable he was true to his word and people believed him, and believed in him. He was not only a gospel preacher and a diligent pastor, hut he was a real man whom people honored, respected and loved.
He was great in his faith. Like St. Paul he knew in whom he had believed and he was fully persuaded that God was able to keep that which he had committed unto Him against that day. He had a great faith; a faith that vitalized the gospel he preached; a faith that challenged the best that was in him to give of this best wherever the need was greatest, regardless of the cost, and all the sacrifices he might have to make; a faith that gave certainty to his ministry of sympathy and consolation. This faith gave him victory in life and triumph in death. J. B. Williams was truly a great man.
He was born in Claihorne Parish, near Lisbon, on November 23, 1858. He died at Many, La., on April 27, 1942. He joined the Louisiana Conference in 1888 and served as active itinerant for forty-six years. He was first married to Miss Judy Autrey. Of this union there are four surviving children: Calvin Williams, Gouver, Texas; Louise Williams, Ruston, La.; Mrs. Verna Clark, San Francisco, and Keener Williams, Houston, Texas. His second marriage was to Mrs. Leila Curl Cameron on February 5, 1913. She was to him a true helpmeet indeed. She survives him and continues to live in their home in Many, Louisiana.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 137-138, 1942 by W. W. Holmes.|