After functioning more than two years without a permanent pastor, the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Woodbury voted on Sunday, Feb. 28 to call Rev. William Hunter Hay V to be its full-time minister effective March 15.
The last permanent full-time pastor to serve the church was Dr. Richard Bray. He left in December 2007 to become an assistant professor and director of the Hugh F. Davis Center for Ministry Education at Shorter College in Rome, Ga.
Hay has served as the interim pastor at FBC Woodbury since October 2009. Shortly after his appointment he resigned his post as head deacon at First Baptist Church Murfreesboro, where he had attended and served for several years.
“I feel called to pastor this church,” Hay told the FBC Woodbury congregation the week prior to the church’s vote. “I am yielding to God’s will.”
According to Dr. Bill Jennings, chairman of the now defunct Pastor Search Committee at FBC Woodbury, Hay will be the 40th pastor to serve the church since it was established in October of 1844.
“We expect Brother Hay to continue the great tradition of Baptist work in the Woodbury area,” Jennings said. “We look forward to the new energy he brings to our already vibrant church.”
Jennings added, “If you don’t already have a church home, we welcome you to join us at First Baptist.”
Hay is excited about leading FBC Woodbury’s growth in the community.
“I’m interested in being outside these walls,” he said.
A native of Charlotte, N.C., the reverend recognized God’s call to serve in the ministry at around the age of 11.
“I walked the aisle at an early age,” Hay said.
Obeying God’s call, he earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. He played football at Gardner-Webb and attended on the Spangler Leadership Award Scholarship.
Hay continued his education in God’s word at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He attended on a Presidential Preaching Scholarship and graduated in 1990 with a master’s degree in divinity. Hay left seminary with more than an advanced degree – he met his wife, Sharon, there. Sharon holds a master’s degree in Christian education and is the minister to preschool and children at First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. She has served in this capacity since 1999.
FBC Woodbury is not Hay’s first church to pastor. He has ministered congregations at Ross Grove Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., Commiskey Baptist Church in Commiskey, Indiana, Weston Baptist Church in North Vernon, Indiana, and Fall Creek Baptist Church in Norene, Tenn.
Hunter and Sharon reside in Woodbury and have three children: Kristen, 21, Hunter VI, 19, and Kathryn, 17. Kristen and Hunter both attend MTSU, and Kathryn is a senior in high school.
FBC Woodbury holds worship services weekly at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, and at 10:35 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Sunday School for all age groups starts at 9:30 a.m. and discipleship training begins at 5 p.m. on Sundays. The church also has an active youth group and children’s, youth and adult choirs, as well as a variety of other programs. Nursery services are provided.
FBC Woodbury is located at 413 West Main Street. For more information call 615-563-2474 or visit: www.firstbaptistwoodbury.com.