Book of sermons compiled after his death wins Williamsburg pastor’s award – Daily Press

WILLIAMSBURG — A book by Reverend J. Harold McKeithen Jr. of Williamsburg has won the Silver Award (runner-up) in the spiritual/religious category at the recently announced 2022 New York Book Festival Awards.

McKeithen served as pastor of the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church alliance for congregational care from 2003 until his death on January 27, 2019. Previously, he served as senior pastor from 1981 to 2003 at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church at Newport News.

His book, “I Like to Tell the Story,” is a compilation of 36 sermons he preached during his nearly 60 years in Presbyterian ministry, including one he titled, “If I Don’t only had one sermon to preach”.

“Harold McKeithen’s sermons were always engaging and uplifting,” said Reverend John E. Morgan, Williamsburg Presbyterian senior pastor and chief of staff, who worked with McKeithen for the last six years of his life.

“His insightful handling of scripture, theology, and current events not only left you with food for thought, but also a call to action. What made Harold’s sermons most powerful was that came from the heart of a faithful, humble and upright man.

Hundreds of books were entered into the 2022 awards program, which included 16 categories ranging from fiction to cookbooks.

“’I Love to Tell the Story’ is a lovely collection [of sermons] it will make you think, laugh and ask important questions,” said Bruce Haring, executive director of the New York Book Festival. “It’s a perfect summer beach read for those who like to challenge their assumptions.”

At the request of his children, the book was compiled after McKeithen’s death. It was published last year by Botetourt Press of Williamsburg and edited by Wilford Kale, local author and freelance writer for the Virginia Gazette for 2½ years.

Melissa McKeithen of Big Sky, Montana, the eldest of his three children, and Reverend Lucy McKeithen Harris of North Creek, New York, a recently retired Presbyterian pastor, agreed that their father “would have been very happy” and humbled by the award.

“We are very pleased with the recognition of her work,” said Melissa McKeithen.

Angela C. Hale