MARTINS FERRY, Ohio (WTRF)
He breathed new life into a struggling church, and helped reinvigorate an entire community.
Rev. William Webster of Grace Presbyterian Church in Martins Ferry retired Sunday after 35 years.
He created many outreach programs including The Clothes Line and the warming and cooling shelters.
He was known for his kind, welcoming presence, and the words, “Come on in, the coffee’s on.”
“It’s just remarkable, what he has accomplished here,” said Ida Mae Cummins, church secretary. “We’ve really been blessed to have him. We’re just so grateful. Today’s a really really hard day for us.”
“Bill has been a solid rock in this community for years, and we’re really going to miss him,” said Drew Brown of Martins Ferry. “Martins Ferry is going to miss him. The whole Ohio Valley is going to miss him.”
“He’s indescribable, really,” said Kari Cooper, church member. “He’s a family man. He is very faith-driven. He wants to do stuff for the community.”
“Today we looked at the second John,” said Rev. Webster. “This is one of the last letters he sent to his churches, and he said to love one another. And that’s got to be the key. If we love one another, then we can move mountains. We can change our world. We can bring hope to people who feel hopeless. And that’s our mission. Love one another.”
Rev. Webster was one of the founders of Prisoners Against Drugs.
He started the free legal clinic and opened the Holy Grounds Café.
He served on at least ten boards, and was active in the reopening of East Ohio Regional Hospital.
He wrote a book, “A Place of Grace.”
He was also well-known for his coffee consumption; he can drink two to three pots of coffee a day!