News 3 Neighbors: Pastor Don Wilhite - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

News 3 Neighbors: Pastor Don Wilhite

Posted: Updated:
     If ever there was someone who embodies being a good neighbor, it's a pastor, rabbi or priest.  They are called on at all hours to help us when life's unexpected moments confront us.  In this News 3 Neighbors segment, I share the story of a beloved local pastor who passed his mantle on to the next generation after 40 years in the pulpit.

     Don Wilhite was called to pastor Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus in 1974.  At the time the church was located on Thirteenth Avenue.  During his four decades as lead pastor, Calvary moved to its current 56-acre campus on Old Moon Road, added a Christian school, housing for the elderly, and an assisted living home among many other offerings.

     Pastor Don was honored recently during a special homecoming service at his church.  You could tell by the hugs and handshakes just how much he is loved.  Pastor Don started down the road of ministry in 1963.  He was living in Birmingham, Ala. and had no church background or spiritual heritage.  But one day, he listened to a Billy Graham crusade from Los Angeles.  Wilhite says, "When he got through preaching, he told us how to receive Christ in our life, that He would change our life, and boy has He changed our life.  That is an understatement."

     Later at a crusade in Birmingham, Pastor Don got to meet Billy Graham and personally thank him for his influence on his life.

     On this particular Sunday in late April, Pastor Don finds himself passing his mantle to his successor, Jeff Struecker.  Don says Jeff had this special request of him.  "If you would just pray and ask the Lord to give me a double portion of your spirit."  That reminded Pastor Don of the Old Testament story of Elijah and Elisha.  "The closest thing that I could find to a mantle that fell from the senior prophet to the other prophet was a tallit which is a Jewish prayer shawl.  What I wanted to do was find some physical, tangible way for the congregation to see...it is going from me to Jeff.  He is the pastor.  He is the leader."

     Pastor Don says he feels a little like Moses in looking back on his pastorate at Calvary.  "I really do see that all my wanderings around for these 40 years have simply been a preparation for Jeff Struecker to come on and lead the church into a new age that I would never, ever be able to do myself."

     Pastor Don is a neighbor that will be sticking around.  He has been made Pastor Emeritus of Calvary Baptist Church and will continue to have an office there as long as he lives. 

Nominate your neighbor

  • News 3 Neighbors Nomination

    Do you know someone that is doing good? Nominate them as a News 3 Neighbor and WRBL News 3's Phil Scoggins may profile them!

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission. It will be reviewed by our staff. Be sure to watch each Monday night at 6/5c as Phil Scoggins introduces us to our outstanding neighbors.

Phil Scoggins

After taking 16-year break from broadcasting, Phil rejoined WRBL as a news anchor where he has been ever since. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Columbus gets new Walmarts...with a twist

    Columbus gets new Walmarts...with a twist

    Aug 25, 2014 07:03 PM2014-08-28 22:27:56 GMT
    Three new Walmart's are coming to town, and two of them are not your average Supercenter.Construction is about to be underway at the new Walmart Supercenter on Victory Drive at the site of the old Baker High School. Two new proposals, however, will bring the Walmart Neighborhood Market to Columbus.The Market is like a grocery store, without the clothes, hardware, etc. typical to most Walmart's.See the proposals at www.columbusga.org/planning. You can voice your opinion about the new stores be...
    Three new Walmart's are coming to town, and two of them are not your average Supercenter.Construction is about to be underway at the new Walmart Supercenter on Victory Drive at the site of the old Baker High School. Two new proposals, however, will bring the Walmart Neighborhood Market to Columbus.The Market is like a grocery store, without the clothes, hardware, etc. typical to most Walmart's.See the proposals at www.columbusga.org/planning. You can voice your opinion about the new stores be...
  • FIRST ON 3: Police looking for man after Columbus mom, baby found dead after house fire

    FIRST ON 3: Police looking for man after Columbus mom, baby found dead after house fire

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:12:09 GMT
    Police are searching for suspect Brandon Connor. Before the fire, Rosella Mitchell is believed to have suffered from life threatening stabbing wounds.Police are searching for suspect Brandon Connor. Before the fire, Rosella Mitchell is believed to have suffered from life threatening stabbing wounds.
    Police are searching for Brandon Conner, 35, who is wanted for murder.
    Police are searching for Brandon Conner, 35, who is wanted for murder.
  • Search continues in Columbus for LaGrange murder suspect

    Search continues in Columbus for LaGrange murder suspect

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:54:35 GMT
    Devonte Thorpe is wanted for the murder of Dejerius Hardnett in LaGrange. He is beleived to now be in the Columbus area.Devonte Thorpe is wanted for the murder of Dejerius Hardnett in LaGrange. He is beleived to now be in the Columbus area.
    Authorities continue searching for Devonte Thorpe. He is wanted for a LaGrange murder and is now believed to the in the Columbus area.
    Authorities continue searching for Devonte Thorpe. He is wanted for a LaGrange murder and is now believed to the in the Columbus area.
Watch Live Watch Live Religious services
  • News 3 NeighborsMore>>

  • News 3 Neighbors: Columbus hosts Georgia Rotary students

    News 3 Neighbors: Columbus hosts Georgia Rotary students

    Monday, August 25 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-08-25 21:35:37 GMT
    Whitewater Express had a definite international flavor Sunday morning. Students from 21 countries prepared to make a splash rafting on the Chattahoochee. The 51 students are members of the Georgia Rotary Student Program which brings students to the U.S. for a year to further their college education. Each student has a host Rotary Club that takes them under their wing.
    Whitewater Express had a definite international flavor Sunday morning. Students from 21 countries prepared to make a splash rafting on the Chattahoochee. The 51 students are members of the Georgia Rotary Student Program which brings students to the U.S. for a year to further their college education. Each student has a host Rotary Club that takes them under their wing.
  • News 3 Neighbors: Fore Kids Columbus

    News 3 Neighbors: Fore Kids Columbus

    Monday, August 18 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-19 01:30:42 GMT
    There is a par-3 golf course in Columbus that has been the training ground for many a young golfer down through the years.Today you can find middle and high school golfers volunteering to teach little tikes what they know...all for the love of the game. Godwin Creek Par-3 Golf Course is home to Fore Kids Columbus, a not-for-profit organization that is focused on providing golf instruction to youngsters, but it goes well beyond that.
    There is a par-3 golf course in Columbus that has been the training ground for many a young golfer down through the years.Today you can find middle and high school golfers volunteering to teach little tikes what they know...all for the love of the game. Godwin Creek Par-3 Golf Course is home to Fore Kids Columbus, a not-for-profit organization that is focused on providing golf instruction to youngsters, but it goes well beyond that.
  • News 3 Neighbors: Coach Sonny Clements

    News 3 Neighbors: Coach Sonny Clements

    Monday, August 11 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-08-12 02:15:08 GMT
    This story is about how a simple piece of wood was used to bring a smile to the face of a local basketball icon, at a time in his life when he could use a smile. Tonight's News 3 Neighbor segment focuses on Coach Sonny Clements.Greg Kunkel had never met former Columbus State University Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Sonny Clements. The two were brought together by a slat of wood. Not long ago the flooring at CSU's Lumpkin Center had to be replaced. Greg asked for a piece of the f...
    This story is about how a simple piece of wood was used to bring a smile to the face of a local basketball icon, at a time in his life when he could use a smile. Tonight's News 3 Neighbor segment focuses on Coach Sonny Clements.Greg Kunkel had never met former Columbus State University Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Sonny Clements. The two were brought together by a slat of wood. Not long ago the flooring at CSU's Lumpkin Center had to be replaced. Greg asked for a piece of the f...
Powered by WorldNow

1732 Valley View Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35209

Telephone: 205.933.1313
Fax: 205.323.3314
Email: newstips@alabamas13.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.