There is a saying that states, “Death is nothing else but going home to God.” On Sunday, December 8, 2013, our beloved Reverend Dr. Jerry Bryant, Jr. ended his travel on this long road of life. God called his name, took him by the hand and said, your place is ready in Heaven. Reverend Bryant knew that trouble don’t last always and rejoiced as he exchanged Life's Rugged Cross for Eternity's Crown and went home to be with God joining that great cloud of witnesses in Heaven.
Pastor Bryant’s life journey began on August 4, 1916 in Gonzales, Texas as the sixth child born to the late Jerry Bryant, Sr. and Caroline Garner-Foster Bryant. Pastor Bryant received his early education in the Littig Community School. In 1932, at the request of his parents, he dropped out of school and moved to San Antonio to help William, an older brother. William had surgery and was not able to return to his job right away. Back in those days, if a person was sick, they had to find someone to work in their place in order to keep their job. Pastor Bryant worked in his older brother’s job until he was able to return to work. After helping his older brother, he decided to make San Antonio his home.
God was the center of the Bryant family’s household. Not surprisingly, Pastor Bryant knew and loved the Lord and confessed a belief in Christ at an early age. After making a permanent move to San Antonio, he united with New Light Baptist Church, which was located at that time in the Baptist Settlement. He was baptized by the late Dr. Paschal Sampson Wilkinson, Sr.
As a member of New Light Baptist Church, he served as an Usher and sung in the Junior and Senior Choirs. He also served as Sunday School Assistant Superintendent, Church Training Union President and was a member of the Deacon Board. When New Light Baptist Church began their search for a new location, Pastor Bryant was the youngest member on the Search Committee. The church presently sits at that location. During the 143rd Church Anniversary celebration, he was honored as their oldest member in age and membership.
In 1942, Reverend Bryant enlisted in the United Stated Army and proudly served his country during World War II. During his tour of duty he had an opportunity to travel throughout the Southwest Pacific, Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines.
Pastor Bryant was very proud that God allowed him to pursue his quest for knowledge. He graduated from St. Philip’s College and Eason Auto Mechanic School. He furthered his education by earning his Bachelors of Theology, Bachelor of Divinity and a Doctorate of Divinity from the Guadalupe Baptist Theological Seminary in Seguin, Texas.
Jeremiah 1:5 reads “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Upon her dying bed, Pastor’s Bryant’s mother told the family that God spoke to her saying that one of her sons would preach.
Pastor Bryant acknowledged his calling in June 1959. He was licensed as a Minister on July 12, 1959 and ordained on April 6, 1967. Reverend Bryant answered the call to be a shepherd of men.
During his lifetime he served in Cheapside, Texas and his final call was in 1972 to serve at the Prospect Baptist Church in Karnes City, Texas. There he served faithfully and diligently until his death.
Our Lord blessed the Prospect family dearly by sending them a man of spiritual strength and wisdom. God anointed Pastor Bryant as a faithful and humble shepherd over His flock. Pastor Bryant inspired the Prospect family to grow and strengthen their daily walk and to develop a closer relationship with Jesus by leading them through prayer, worship, and the teaching of his word.
Paul says very directly, “In everything give thanks” and we come in thanksgiving to God for the precious memories of a man we know as a leader, a preacher, a teacher, a counselor and most of all a servant. We come in thanksgiving to God for allowing Pastor Bryant to have been a part of a church that has stood in Karnes County Community for 108 years. A church bound together by love, energized by faith and commitment to Jesus Christ, a church that stands on the promises of God.
God anointed Pastor Bryant as a faithful and humble shepherd. His ministry was defined by his kind and compassionate care of the flock entrusted to him by the Lord. He was a humble servant ever aware of his need for the grace of God. All of those he cherished knew and felt his great love for them.
Pastor Bryant made many contributions to the Christian Community through his service in the Mount Zion District as Vice Moderator, Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, Member of the Association Executive Board and Bible Teacher.
Pastor Bryant was married to the late Jo Etta Johns Bryant for twenty-five years. Four children were born to this union. In 1964, he married the late Mary Bess Carter and was the Step-father to one son.
Pastor Bryant had two rules for living life and they were, “to love people” and “to remember there are some things you have to step around, there are some things you have to step over and there are some things you have to live with.”
Pastor Bryant was preceded in death by his parents, Jerry Bryant, Sr. and Caroline Garner-Foster Bryant; his wife, Mary; son, John Wesley Bryant; siblings: Eddie, Edgar, William, Lillie Mae, and Sarah; and two grandsons, Ronald Lee Thomas and Dwayne Wesley Bryant.
Loving memories will be forever cherished by his children, Jerriette Taylor, Jocelyn A. Hemphill and husband, Harry, Sr., Reverend James A. Bryant, Sr. and wife, Joyce; stepson, Jimmie Lamar Carter, Jr. He is also survived by his beloved sister, Caroline (Sis) Bryant King, sister-in-law, Rebecca Bryant, and the Prospect Baptist Church family, Karnes City, Texas. He will be truly missed by his precious grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives, friends and many people whose lives he touched.
A Pastor, a preacher, a teacher, a counselor, a loyal husband, a faithful provider, a selfless and generous father, a playful and adoring grandfather and great grandfather and most of all a Servant has walked among us and left his imprint in the sands of time. God has spoken! So let the church say Amen!