Nothing is quite as dear to anyone as his own life. To save someone’s life touching experience not only to that person, but to all who learn about it. So goes the story of W. Lloyd Hellams (’41).
Hellams is the pastor of Southside Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina. An unassuming man, his conversation tells you immediately that he loves people. His Christianity is a reality.
People in turn love him, as is evidenced by his second call to Southside. “The most touching thing that has ever happened to me,” he says, “was being called back to Southside Baptist Church as pastor eight months after I had left it.”
It must have been a touch of the Master’s hand because his second call was a spontaneous, unanimous one. Thus, he has ministered at Southside now for more than 28 years.
Every pastor, however, at some time in his ministry has those things which he would rather forget – funny or otherwise. Such is the case with Hellams. It seems he had prepared a Sunday morning sermon around the Lord’s Supper. However, the person in charge of preparing the bread and wine had forgotten to have it ready. So the congregation sang the chosen hymns, Hellams read his Scripture and talked about the meaning of the supper . . . but served no wine or bread!
“Every now and then someone remembers that service and reminds me of that ‘I wish I could forget feature,’” Hellams relates.
Remembering back to his years at North Greenville as a student, Hellams relates the most memorable experiences he had. One memory was of “Fess” Blackwell and his energetic classroom antics; another was of the heating plant burning. The loss was great and the tight economy put an extra burden on the school budget.
Hellams went on to Furman University and then to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. During his years in Kentucky as pastor and student, he would participate in the most touching experience of someone else’s life. While at Brownsville. Kentucky, in a student church, he would be given the opportunity to save a person’s life.
An elderly church member became very ill and was thought to have a virus or pneumonia. Because of limited facilities in Brownsville, she was transported to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Anemic and depleted of blood, her condition became very critical.
Hellams learned of her need for blood and went to the hospital to donate his. Expecting to have it taken into a container, he was shocked when the doctor took him and the patient to the operating room, connected the transfusion lines to a pump and began to pump his blood directly into the patient. There was not time for a normal transfer . . . The elderly lady lived and the doctor credited Hellam’s direct transfusion . . . a touch indeed of the Master’s hand.
Hellam’s commitment to serve God through service to people evident. He is a member of: Pacific Masonic Lodge; the Advisory Board of Baptist College, Charleston; Columbia Metro’s Ministerial Association; Advisory Board for Community Care Program for the city of Columbia; Mutual Fellowship Committee, Columbia Metro Association; Clergy Executive Staff Committee, Richland Memorial Hospital.
Now in his second term as a trustee of North Greenville College, Hellams sees the need for a closer tie of alumni to the college. “We all get mail from senior colleges or graduate schools and we would like to assist all three,” he related. “At the same time the first school we attended made a lasting impression on us. If it had not been for North Greenville, I probably would never have made it to Furman and Southern Seminary,” he concluded.
Author of a devotional book, Quiet Talks, Hellams shares a touch of the Master’s hand with all who read it. And, as he ministers from day to day, the Master’s touch broadens.
Article printed in the April 1979 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.