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Cope, Padgett comment (0)

November 15, 2007


A heart filled with love for others. One whose prayers touched all those who knew him. And one who spent his final waking moments asking the medical personnel around him if they knew Jesus.
That was Padgett Cope, said Chris Jackson, pastor of Happy Hill Baptist Church, Heflin.
Cope, the state’s oldest director of missions (DOM), died Nov. 9 at 80 years old. He had served as DOM for Cleburne Baptist Association for almost seven years.

“When Padgett Cope prayed for you, you knew it was getting to where it was meant to go,” Jackson said. “We’ve lost a prayer warrior.”

Gary Swafford, director of the office of associational missions and church planting for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said Cope made a tremendous impact in Cleburne Association.

“He and his wife, Betty (who died in 2005), endeared themselves to the leaders. They really formed a family bond that was so meaningful,” Swafford said. “He would do anything for anybody and showed no partiality. The relationship was what was important.”

Cope also built confidence in the associational leaders, Swafford added.
Jackson, moderator for Cleburne Association, agreed. “He is, in my opinion, what put Cleburne County on the map with the Alabama Baptist State Convention. He taught me so much, things you won’t find in a book.”
Cope also endeared himself to other DOMs, Swafford noted. In fact, it was his peers who had planned to honor him with an associational missionary of the year award at the state convention annual meeting in Mobile. The award will be presented in his memory Nov. 13, as well as to another DOM.

An Alabama native, Cope was called into the ministry at 17 while serving in the Pacific theater with the U.S. Navy during World War II.

During his 60 years in the ministry, he was a pastor for many years, including Ruhama Baptist Church, Birmingham. He also served as church planter and director of Southern Baptist work in the Greater Philadelphia area with the former Home Mission Board.

Cope has also served with the former Foreign Mission Board and in various board capacities in several states. He has a degree from Howard College (now Samford University) and held three honorary doctorate degrees. He was licensed and ordained by Highland Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery.
Cope is survived by four children, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. (TAB)
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