Rev. Phate William McSwain, Jr., age 86, peacefully went to his heavenly home Saturday, August 22, 2020, with the love of his children surrounding him.
On June 11, 1934, Phate was born to Phate and Ruby McSwain in Shelby, NC. He was raised one of five children (three sisters and one brother) in a family of Christian love. In 1945, he was spiritually born at Second Baptist Church in Shelby. At age 11, he began his first real part-time work at a local supermarket until he graduated from high school. Shortly after graduation he married Ann Lee of Shelby and began working as a traveling salesman for Clyde A. Short in Shelby.
During the next months, God began to speak to him about the specific full-time ministry of preaching the Gospel. Phate thought that somewhere between the portals of glory and where he lived and moved the wires had gotten crossed. He was actively involved in his church with teaching Sunday School… what more did God want?
During the next five years of running, God blessed his home with a daughter (Vickie), new job traveling with National Biscuit Company in Charlotte, NC, elected as church Training Director, Royal Ambassador Leader, Sunday School Director, and in 1956 ordained as a Deacon. But none of this helped with God’s tugging at his heart.
In 1958, Phate stopped running and was licensed for the Ministry by Union Baptist Church in Shelby, NC. He enrolled at Gardner-Webb College taking courses at night. In the spring of 1959, he was called as assistant pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Kings Mountain, NC. He enrolled at Gardner-Webb full time and God provided him the opportunity to preach 51 of the next 52 Sundays. From 1960-1963 he served as pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Mooresboro, NC. In 1961, he enrolled at Wake Forest University, where he commuted 125 miles to school and back for two years. Upon graduation, he was called as pastor of Harris Chapel Baptist Church in Hollister, NC. In July of 1963, God blessed the home with the birth of his son (Chris). Shortly after he enrolled in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC…again traveling over 100 miles to attend classes until graduation in 1967. He immediately enrolled in the School of Pastoral Care at NC Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.
During these days God called Phate as pastor of the Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church in Marion, NC. Where he was involved in his first building program. God blessed in a marvelous way with the building of a beautiful three-story educational facility. He served in this church field for seven years during which the church was honored in being chosen as the 1971 rural church of the year for the state of North Carolina.
In 1973, God called him to serve the Southside Baptist Church in Mooresville, NC. This was an extremely exciting ministry as the church ranked number two in the State for receiving Sunday School leadership awards. God also blessed in giving over four hundred and fifty additions, allowing the church to become the largest congregation in the city.
The year of 1979 took him to Indian River Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Virginia. This was the first opportunity he had to work with a Kindergarten Day Care Ministry providing care to 125 children with a Director and 20 part-time staff.
In 1987, Phate returned to NC becoming the pastor of the First Baptist Church, Newton. Here he was involved in another major five hundred thousand dollar building program for the Family Life Center. His ministry at First Baptist continued until he semi-retired in the early ‘90’s.
Although retired, he still felt God’s call to preach so he pastored a newly established church the Believer’s Assembly of Faith in Newton.
At 84 years of age, Phate finished his preaching career at Heritage Village in Newton, NC.
God was gracious and good to Phate. God called him into the pastor-teacher-evangelist ministry. And as the under-shepherd, he took on the responsibility of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry leading them to do God’s work.
Phate valued his wife, Ann, seeing her as a tremendous help to him in serving the Lord. He believed that just as he was called to preach… she was called to be a preacher’s wife. He lovingly referred to her as ‘a pastor’s wife of the first magnitude!’ They continued their work for the Lord together until God called her home in 1996.
Phate believed in the inspired, infallible, and authoritative word of God, the Biblical doctrine of grace, and that the Church is the Bride of Christ in the world. He believed it is our responsibility to become the example of Jesus Christ in our home, where we study and earn a living, in our community and to the world in which we live. That we manifest through our life day by day that the “Way of the Cross” does lead home.
While not a perfect man, he was faithful, obedient, and invested his life in others. It was an eternal investment of sharing and living his faith in Jesus Christ. That investment will impact people and generations to come even if those subsequent generations, his or otherwise, will one day does not remember him by name. As those that follow him share their faith, it will be a perpetual testimony to Christ and his life as a Christian. And one day, countless souls will abide in heaven as a result… that is a return on investment of eternal significance. Of course, it is not about him, for he stood on the shoulders of other such persons before him.
He will be lovingly remembered by his daughter Vickie Curtis (Ed) and son Chris McSwain (Kathryn); grandchildren: Heather Branch (Boyd) of Alaska, Rebecca McSwain (Spencer Kilby) of Hickory, and Amanda Dellinger (Cameron) of Cullowhee; three great grandchildren Boyd Thomas, Marshall, and Eloise of Alaska; sister, Susan Greene (Henry) of Mint Hill and Brenda Henderson of Alabama; special long term friends Mr. & Mrs. Bill Brendle, as well as numerous relatives and friends.
Preceded in death by his loving wife Ann of 43 years, sister Tilley Lowery, brother Jean McSwain; and his parents: Phate and Ruby McSwain.
Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 2pm with visitation at 1pm, at Wendell Baptist Church, 3651 Wendell Blvd, Wendell, NC 27591.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 2pm with visitation at 1pm, at Clay Barnette Funeral Home, 1401 Dixon Blvd, Shelby 28152. Graveside service immediately following at Union Baptist Church Cemetery, 3800 Polkville Rd, Shelby, NC 28150.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, P.O. Box 338, Thomasville, NC 27361 OR Baptist on Missions, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512. Please include in the memo line: Memorial Phate W. McSwain, Jr.
Phate McSwain…A praying man and God’s servant till death…
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16