“I’ve Fought the Good Fight; I’ve Finished My Course.”
Reverend Dr. Charles Ronald Mosley was born April 9, 1938 to the proud parents of Frank and Ruth Mosley in Passaic, New Jersey. He was the grandson of Walter and Carrie Collins, and a proud brother to Adrian Mitchell.
Dr. Charles R. Mosley passed from this world on Friday, February 12, 2021.
“Ronnie,” as he was affectionally known, moved to stay with his grandparents Walter and Carrie Collins that lived on Haid Street (across from Stephen-Lee High School), in the East End community of Asheville. As a child, Ronnie always wanted to live with his grandparents and be around friends with whom he had fostered close relationships during his earlier childhood. Ronnie also had a lifes’ plan–he aspired to be known as a prolific preacher, teacher and orator; he even staged mock sermons to hone his skills as a child.
A childhood friend, Carolyn Nelson, recalls, “Every Saturday morning bright and early around eight o’clock, Ronnie would line up wooden crate boxes like church pews in his grandparents’ yard to hold church services. We knew he would circle the neighborhood to get us all if we didn’t show up, so we voluntarily saved him the trip! Ronnie would rush us to be seated, because his church services always began promptly at nine o’clock. First, he would pray for about 30 minutes, and then preach us a sermon that lasted for hours!” mused Carolyn. During the summer, it would get so hot we would start to sweat and almost pass out. So we squirm around in our seats, or acted as if we were going to leave. Ronnie would pause, or give us the ‘side-eye,’ so we would settle back down!” she laughed. “Ronnie was very serious about his reverent direction. He was a very nice friend to have,” she concluded.
Young Charles Mosley delivered his first official sermon on February 17, 1956 while still a high school student, under the direction of Reverend Dr. John W. White at historic Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. Upon graduation from Stephens-Lee High School in 1957, Charles pursued his higher theological calling by attending Shaw University (founded in 1865), in Raleigh, North Carolina during the fall of 1957. While studying for his undergraduate degree A.B., he continued in the ministry and became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Reverend Charles Mosley was ordained into the ministry on May 30, 1960.
Active Student and Student Activist
It was in April, of 1960, during Reverend Mosley’s years on the campus of Shaw University, that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC – pronounced SNIK), was founded. The Committee brought together 126 student delegates from 12 states and 19 northern colleges for a general conference, and quickly emerged as the principal channel of student commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.
Reverend Charles R. Mosley was among those founding members. Others who were to emerge as strategists for SNCC and its field projects were students and friends Diane Nash, Marion Barry, John Lewis (Fisk University); American Baptist Theological students James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette (Nashville Student Movement); J. Charles Jones of Johnson C. Smith University, who organized 200 students to participate in sit-ins at department stores throughout North Carolina; Julian Bond from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA; and Stokely Carmichael from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
A Lifelong Ministry
After graduating from Shaw in 1961, Rev. Mosley took on his first official pastoral duties at Eastern Star Baptist Church in Tarboro, North Carolina. One year later in 1962, he married the love of his life, fellow Shaw University classmate and alumna, Lue (Riddick) Mosley. They were married for 45 years, until her passing in 2007.
During Reverend Mosley’s ministry, he was known for his love of music and he was a man of great erudition. In addition to serving as Director of Music for the General Baptist State Convention of NC, he was often a soloist from the pulpit and beyond. One of his favorite hymns was “I Won’t Complain.”
With a never-ending thirst for knowledge, Rev. Mosley furthered his education and obtained his Master’s of Divinity in 1964, also from Shaw University. From 1963 to 1967, he served Sycamore Hill Baptist Church in Greenville, NC, where he was lauded for his scholarly teachings of the Bible. In 1965, Reverend Charles R. Mosley received a Doctorate of Divinity as well from Shaw.
In 1967, Reverend Dr. Mosley accepted a pastorship at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Belmont, North Carolina, and then, with the passing of Rev. Dr. Otis E. Dunn, his life would come full circle: he was called to the pastorate of Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church in his home town of Asheville.
Served Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church for 43 Years
Reverend Dr. Charles R. Mosley delivered his valedictory sermon at Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, September 9, 2018, more than 61 years after first preaching as an adult. The topic he chose was 2 Timothy Chapter 4:6–8, with the scripture verses read by his son and namesake, Rev. Charles R. Mosley, Jr. He titled his sermon “The Time of My Departure is at Hand: I’ve Fought the Good Fight; I’ve Finished My Course.”
In this sermon he expressed fond and amusing memories of church members who were instrumental in his success. Those people among many included church members Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Brown, Sr., former Senior Deaconess Mrs. Pauline Rollinson, and Deacon Alphonzo McCoy who mentored him throughout his ministry. Also, Major Mayfield, his son and brother-in-law, who helped to pack up Dr. Mosley’s family and bring them home to (Asheville) from Belmont, N.C.
Dr. Mosley recalled: “Mayfield told me, ‘Son, you certainly have some really big shoes to fill and all!’ “Well, I told him,” said Dr. Mosley, “as the saying goes: ‘There are two horses you should have, one for everyday and one for special occasions and church. Well, I ride that special horse every day — including Sundays!” Dr. Mosley.
Known as “The Bishop,” to many of his fellow clergy and constituents, Dr. Mosley maintained his quick-witted sense of humor, even as his health and eyesight deteriorated. He would always remind folk (who thought that he wasn’t listening or watching), by reciting an abbreviated stanza of Amazing Grace in a musing manner, which was… ‘I am blind but I CAN see!’
Honors and Awards
Over his lifetime of service, Dr. Mosley was honored many times. Early on he received the Key to the City of Belmont; served as the representative for the NC General Baptist State Convention; received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from the governor of North Carolina; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; the Community Service Award from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; and the Outstanding Community Leader Award from Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church. Dr. Mosley was listed in Who’s Who among Black Americans (1975-76) and Who’s Who in Religion (1978).
He also served as president of the Shaw Theological Alumni Association; as a faculty member at Shaw University – CAPE in Asheville, N. C.; a member of the Shaw Divinity School Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors; Executive Board member of Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention; Director of Music and Second Vice President of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; Director of the western District of the General Baptist State Convention/ Baptist State Convention; Vice Moderator and Chairman of the Ordination Council of the Mud Creek Baptist Association; member and chair of the Board of the YMI Cultural Center; member of the Board of Directors of the National Baptist Association; and four terms as President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville.
Both as a private citizen and during his ministry with various organizations, Dr. Mosley traveled extensively. His evangelistic ministries afforded him the opportunities to visit the Holy Land, the West African Countries of Nigeria and Liberia. He also visited South Korea, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, and many locations in Europe.
North Carolina General Baptist Convention
Beginning with that initial sermon in 1957, Reverend Dr. Charles R. Mosley had reached a milestone of having preached for 61 years in 2017. To commemorate his more than six decades of service in the pulpit, he was honored with special recognition in 2017 from the General Baptist Convention of North Carolina.
Reverend Dr. Charles R. Mosley was a man of faith and wisdom. His dedicated service and steadfast commitment to the ministry has touched thousands of lives. He has served as teacher, counselor, consultant, big brother, and created many models of excellence for aspiring preachers who will follow in the legacy and trails he has blazed.
Reverend Dr. Charles R. Mosley has been a conscientious keeper of his vows of ordination for 75 years. His reputation and legacy as a caring, compassionate minister and a blessing in the lives of the people of Nazareth First Baptist Church, the County of Buncombe, city of Asheville, and beyond.”
Surviving to cherish Reverend Dr. Charles R. Mosley’s memory are his son, Reverend Charles R. Mosley, Jr. and daughter, Asheville City Councilwoman S. Antanette Mosley, Esquire, many nieces and nephews, and a multitude of associate ministers, church members and friends.