Sampley to retire after 42 years in ministry comment (0)
December 5, 2013
By Julie Payne
James Sampley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ashville, for the past 17 years, is retiring Dec. 29.
Sampley surrendered to God’s call to ministry at 23 years old, and following that call he volunteered as youth minister at First Baptist Church, Rainsville.
He holds an associate degree at Northeast State Junior College in Rainsville (now known as Northeast Alabama Community College) and transferred to Samford University in Birmingham, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in religion. While at Samford, Sampley served as pastor of Faith Baptist Church, West Blocton.
He later received his master of divinity and doctorate in ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
In addition to serving as pastor of First, Ashville, and James Memorial Baptist Church, Gadsden, during his ministry, Sampley also has served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.
He noted one of the most fulfilling parts of his ministry has been the opportunity to serve as pastor in several states. Another highlight of his ministry has been the opportunity to volunteer in missions, serving in places like Guatemala, a country he will soon visit for the ninth time.
Sampley said one highlight he will take away from his time at First, Ashville, has been the opportunity to serve “some of the greatest folks in the world.” He added the church has seen some significant growth, including the building of a new sanctuary.
Sampley has been actively involved in St. Clair Baptist Association and the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and he is trained as an Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief chaplain. In addition, he was recently appointed as St. Clair County’s chaplain.
He noted that in retirement, he looks forward to “resting for a while.”
The church will hold a retirement reception for Sampley on Dec. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. It will be open to the public.
He and his wife, Judy, have two children and two grandchildren.