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Watson set to retire Easter Sunday

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    Rev. Gideon Watson and his wife Carolyn, at a celebration in their honor, are retiring and were honored by church and community members last Sunday, March 24. The Vindicator | Amelia Fielder

HARDIN — It was a time of celebration for one of the longest-serving pastors, if not the longest serving, in Liberty County, as church members, family, and friends honored Rev. Gideon Watson on Sunday.

Watson began his journey at Hardin Methodist in 1991 when he was named local pastor. Since then, he has proudly served the congregation as its spiritual leader.

In that time, he has built lifelong relationships with churchgoers and witnessed to many, performing baptisms, marriages and last rites while serving the Lord and church parishioners.

A special presentation was held during Sunday’s service, during which Carrie Yarbrough read aloud words from longtime church member Laura Yarbrough.

“Each of us holds special thoughts of Gideon. Perhaps more than any other characteristic of his ministry—he has always been there for us,” she wrote.

Afterward, Watson and his lovely wife Carolyn were asked to come up front and presented with several accolades.

A proclamation from Liberty County Judge Jay Knight called for next Sunday, March 31, to be “ Rev. Gideon Watson Day“ in Liberty County.

Watson was also presented with a Texas and United States flag that had been flown in his honor of each respective capital.

A certificate was included in honor of Watson from U.S. Congressman Brian Babin that recognized Watson’s service to Hardin ISD, his church, community and service in the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam.

The church also presented him with a plaque in honor of his 33 years of service and dedication to the church.

It included an inscription of Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Before Sunday’s service, a special reception was held in Watson’s honor, with church members and other community and church leaders from the area, who wanted to say thank you and send well wishes on his retirement.

Watson will deliver two final sermons this Sunday, March 31, at 7 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. before officially retiring.

Rev. Sean Leick has been named the new pastor at Hardin Methodist and will begin his duties on Monday, April 1.