Dawson Presented With Key to the City
By MILES LAYTON
SISTERSVILLE – Mayor Bill Rice presented Pastor Bill Dawson with a Key to City on Sunday after he preached his last sermon at First United Methodist Church.
City Council proclaimed June 19th, 2016 as Reverend Bill Dawson Day – doesn’t get any better than that.
Dawson will be leaving for Ritchie County in June, after eight years in Sistersville. He was appointed pastor of the Harrisville UMC.
“It was a real honor,” Dawson said. “Everything I do, I do for the Glory of God. To know that the mayor and city council recognize my labor for the Lord, was a real honor. I love the city of Sistersville and was Blessed to serve the First United Methodist Church for the past nine years. By serving First United Methodist Church, I was able to serve the people of Sistersville. I want to thank the mayor, city council, our city recorder, and the citizens of Sistersville for the special recognition.”
Mayor Bill Rice had kind words for Dawson.
“We felt Bill’s moving is a loss to our community and we just wanted to honor him for all the great work he did,” Rice said. “Bill always had a positive attitude and respect him greatly.”
Dawson was moved by the town’s kindess.
“God has a future for this place, and it’s bright and it’s blessed,” he said.
During the past several years, Dawson has cast his net wide so as to spread kindness and the Word of God. He was a familiar face at many public events such as Tyler County’s Relay for Life where he offered a prayer. Dawson was an active member of the Sisterville Ministerial Association and many civic groups. During Easter, Dawson and members of the Church walked the streets downtown with palm leaves.
“Hero’s Day”, which began back in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, is held in September as a tribute to firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical workers who are dedicated to helping those in need and protecting the public.
Hero’s Day was first started by Dawson, who is also a volunteer Firefighter in Sistersville. This celebration has continued with the support of the city of Sistersville and numerous government, business and private entities.
“These men and women are heroes, everyday,” Dawson said after the 2014 Heroes Day. “They put their lives on the line for the rest of us, many on a volunteer basis. They deserve to be recognized for their service.”
Dawson has led tour groups that have included many local folks to the Holy Land. After returning home in March, Dawson said the trip underscored the need for Christians to embrace their faith.
“Passion can be seen in the American way of life when it comes to sports, our jobs and entertainment, but seems to be waning when it comes to Practicing the Christian faith,” he said. “Seeing these Holy sites in Jerusalem reminds me that these aren’t just stories, the tomb was and still is empty. The resurrection happened over 2000 years ago, and we continue to tell His story. If every person professing to be a Christian would attend a church and get active, our local congregations would be able to accomplish so much more for the Kingdom of God.”
In April, Dawson visited Melissa Smith in the hospital when her life was hanging in the balance.
He carried with him a small wooden Cross that had carried with him during a recent trip to the Holy Land. The Cross was made locally by Jack Pancake. At every Holy Site, Dawson would place the Cross and pray for God to use this cross as an instrument of healing and change.
While Dawson was at the hospital visiting Smith, he was not alone.
“God told me to lay that Cross on her chest,” he said at a church service in April where Smith spoke about the importance of faith.
Key in hand and with a special day named in Dawson’s honor, the church did its part too by dedicating the community prayer chapel in his name, which Dawson said was another shocker – memories that will he treasure forever.
“What the city did for me will always be a special memory for me,” he said.