Reactions are still pouring in after a longtime Tennessee pastor and his wife were killed and their grandchild hospitalized after a head-on crash in East Knox County on Tuesday morning.
Pastor Ruben Wilson and his wife, Belinda, who led Three Points Baptist Church for more than 25 years, were killed in the crash that also injured three others, including their grandchild, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. The accident occurred about 11 a.m. near the intersection of Mascot Road and Immel Mine Road.
“We are absolutely heartbroken at the passing of our pastor and his wife, Ruben and Belinda Wilson,” the church announced in a post on Facebook Tuesday evening along with an invitation to a prayer service for the deceased couple on Wednesday.
Dozens of mourners and well-wishers gathered at Three Points Baptist Church Wednesday to pray for the couple, 10 News reported. And many who knew them said they treated parishioners like family.
“Church is actually a verb, it's action. We're there to support them," South Knoxville Baptist Church Pastor Richard Phipps who lives nearby, said. "We're a small community here but wonderful, wonderful people live here in Mascot."
He said it was times like this that people of faith need to look to God.
"In situations like this, I've always gone back to one verse, be still and know that I am God. This is a time where the church, that family, just has to be still,” Phipps said.
To offer support to the congregation, Phipps said he plans on having his church worship with the mourning congregation and help in any way they can.
"We've canceled our services to pray with them and offer our services any way we can,” he said. "As many prayers as we can get we need them ... they need them. Just let them know you're there."
Stephanie Brooks, a member of the church for 11 years and a deacon’s wife, told WATE that the couple was truly beloved in their community.
Ruben Wilson, she said, would do anything for those in need.
“Ruben was someone, if you needed him, he was there. All you had to do was call him and he was there for you. No matter what hour of the day or what hour of the night. Ruben was always there,” she said.
“Beautiful voice from God. And I know now she’s singing with the angels. She loved to play the piano. She was a very gifted woman,” Brooks said.
The couple’s love for each other and God, she explained was also never hidden.
“He even made a statement that he was going to walk into Heaven’s gates with her, and he did,” Brooks said.
While it will be difficult to worship without the couple on Sunday, she said she believes the couple will be watching the congregation from heaven waiting for them to arrive too.
“His last message was ‘put on the armor of God.’ And that’s something we’re going to have to do is put on the armor and go on,” Brooks explained.