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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Former General Treasurer With the Lord

Raymond H. Hudson (1918-2010)

By Wayne Warner
July 4, 2010

He once said in a video interview, “I want to be remembered as, above all else, a servant of God.” And looking back, what would he change? “I would walk a little closer to the Master who loved me,” he answered.

That was Raymond H. Hudson of Hobbs, N.M., retired general treasurer of the Assemblies of God (1973-88), who went to be with the Lord on March 30 at the age of 91. His wife of 66 years, Onie Marie, survives.

Hudson was born in Celina, Texas, north of Dallas. But about the time he was ready to start school, his parents moved the family to Thornton in Limestone County, some 35 miles southeast of Waco. Through the influence of his godly parents and visiting ministers to their farm home, Raymond became a Christian at the age of 14. Later he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a call into the ministry.

That call to preach came before he graduated from nearby Davis Prairie High School. And when a church was established in Davis Prairie, he served as its pastor.

Thinking about his father, Hudson said: “My dad was a godly man and worked as a cotton sharecropper. We might plow all day with the horses, let them rest a bit, and then hitch them to a wagon and ride seven miles into Thornton for a revival meeting.” He added, “We seldom missed a night of the revivals.”

In 1926 when the Pentecostal Movement came to their area, Hudson’s mother was ill and given only a short time to live. An evangelist prayed for her, and she was instantly healed.

Realizing that he needed Bible training, Hudson enrolled at Shield of Faith Bible School in Fort Worth, which later became part of what is now Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. While still in school, he began pastoring a small church in Perrin, some 65 miles west of Fort Worth. There he remained for four years, and during this pastorate he married Onie Marie Stewart in 1943. Recognizing his contribution to the Kingdom and the school, Southwestern conferred on Hudson an honorary doctorate in 1988.

Other ministries would follow Perrin, including a pastorate at Aubrey, Texas. Then in 1946 he received a call to First Assembly in Hobbs, N.M. During his nine years in Hobbs, he led the thriving church in building projects, which included a parsonage, education building and a new auditorium. Something else, he said, was far more important than buildings: “The greatest joy of my pastoral days was always the souls that came to the Lord.”

But the 37-year-old minister would not stay in Hobbs forever. New Mexico ministers elected him as their superintendent in 1955, and for the next 13 years Hudson served the district with enthusiasm and devotion.

While directing the 1957 New Mexico camp meeting at Mountainair, Hudson took an interest in a 16-year-old pastor’s son who possibly reminded him of his own youth when he looked for preaching opportunities. Maybe the kid could preach, he reasoned.

Recently the teenager, now in his 60s, remembered meeting Hudson at the camp. “Brother Hudson gave me my first opportunity to speak, at a vesper service, and later issued exhorter credentials to me.”

The 16-year-old youth at the Mountainair Camp 53 years ago grew up to become a pastor, author, college professor and the current general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Dr. George O. Wood.

Hudson lived long enough to know the kid could preach.

One thing Hudson learned while pastoring and building the Hobbs church was that banks were reluctant to lend money to churches. He vowed to do something about it, and while serving as district superintendent he developed New Mexico Church Builders, a program that enabled churches to borrow for building projects.

Hudson’s success in New Mexico caught the attention of then General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman. He invited Hudson to headquarters, first as director of the Stewardship Department in 1969 and later as the church loan officer. When his good friend General Treasurer M.B. Netzel died in 1973, Hudson was elected to take his place. The Church Builders plan he developed in New Mexico was enlarged to fit a national program.

For 15 years Raymond Hudson served the denomination as general treasurer, a familiar and personable leader overseeing the Division of the Treasury. When he retired in 1988, the Executive Presbytery tapped Thomas Trask to fill his unexpired term. After learning of Hudson’s death, Trask spoke appreciatively of his predecessor and how important he was during the transition.

“The Assemblies of God owes a great debt to Ray Hudson,” Trask says. “God gifted him with financial knowledge, and he set up what became the forerunner of Assemblies of God Financial Solutions.”

As a young teenager Raymond Hart Hudson took Psalm 37:4 as his guide: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (KJV).

For more than 75 years — from Limestone County to Fort Worth to New Mexico to Springfield, Mo., and back to New Mexico — that favorite verse remained a stabilizing force for the farm boy who rose from the Texas cotton fields to one of the highest executive positions in the Assemblies of God.

WAYNE WARNER is former director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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