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FBC Cullman pastor Hayes to retire after 29 years comment (0)

January 24, 2013

FBC Cullman pastor Hayes to retire after 29 years

Edwin (Ed) Hayes, pastor of First Baptist Church, Cullman, could not have imagined he would spend his last two years of full-time ministry rebuilding a church. But that is exactly what he did. 

When a tornado dealt a direct hit to First, Cullman, on April 27, 2011, it left about $4 million in damages to the church’s buildings. Hayes noted the “huge” process of rebuilding is now complete.

And another chapter is also closing at the church. After more than 29 years as pastor of First, Cullman, Hayes recently announced his retirement. Jan. 27 will mark his last day of service at the church.

Hayes grew up in Oneonta and was licensed and ordained under the ministry of George Allison, who served as Hayes’ pastor at First Baptist Church, Oneonta, when Hayes was in high school. Hayes began serving First Baptist Church, Cleveland, in 1963 as a student at Howard College (now Samford University in Birmingham), where he received a bachelor of arts degree in religion and history.

In 1965, he and his wife, Martha, moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where they attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Hayes received a master of divinity degree and his wife earned her religious education diploma. 

In December 1969, First Baptist Church, Centre, called Hayes as its pastor. In July 1976, he began serving at First Baptist Church, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. After more than seven years there, he succeeded Rick Lance, now executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, as pastor of First, Cullman, in November 1983. 

During his years of service at the church, Hayes said evangelism and missions have been the primary emphases. First, Cullman, currently has three church members in full-time overseas missionary service.

He noted his time at First, Cullman, has “been a wonderful ministry. It’s a flagship church of north Alabama … with a strong missions emphasis,” he said, adding that overseas missions trips that he and his wife have led to countries including Romania, Ukraine and Venezuela have been a major highlight of his ministry at the church.

He holds a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral ministries from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has served on various committees and boards during his years of ministry.

He said that once he retires, he hopes to stay active in positions such as interim pastor, supply preacher and Bible conference teacher. He and his wife, Martha, have three children and seven grandchildren. First, Cullman, will hold a reception for Hayes on Feb. 10 from 2–4 p.m.

(Julie Payne)

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