William B. Livermon, Sr., 1916-1992
Bill Livermon was best known to many as "The Circuit Rider" who rode into peoples lives on an old racehorse named Justice. In a three-minute television segment, Bill would offer an object lesson from nature because, in his own words, "I am sure God has built a real lesson into everything He created." In each segment, "The Circuit Rider" would draw on one of these out of Justice's saddle bag and speak simply and in a personal way about God's great love for people.
This same witness touched the lives of many people in his ministry in the local church as well. Bill served the following churches as pastor: Patrick Springs, Reveille in Richmond, North Mathews Charge, Mathews Chapel-Mathews, Powhatan, and Memorial in Lynchburg. In retirement he served the Bethel-St. Mathews Charge, The Gwyns Island Church of the Nazarene, Macedonia Baptist Church, and Westville and Oak Grove Christian churches, all in Mathews County. It was here that Bill and Thelma made their retirement home on Gwyns Island. They welcomed their three sons, William Jr., Robert, and Gary and their families often.
On September 30, 1991, Bill was awarded a special recognition by the Ministry 2000 project of Wesley Seminary. He was recognized for "his contribution in encouraging men and women to respond to God's call to ordained ministry." Having entered the ordained ministry himself at the age of 42, Bill once said, "I've been a railroad man, a post office inspector and traveling salesman, but the most fun I ever had was as a country preacher." This great love for the work to which he had been called inspired five other persons in different churches he served, to answer that call. His son, Bill Jr., was already attending seminary when Bill answered the call to ministry. He often said his son became his "father" as they encouraged each other in the process of answering God's call in their lives.
Bill’s pride and love for his family and for his dear Thelma was always evident. That love was extended wherever he met them, and somehow God's love shining through Bill made you want what he had. So, consequently, most people took another step or two along their faith journey -- grew a little more -- came to act in love a little more often -- just for having encountered Bill.
-Rita A. Callis