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Burchfield to retire after 56 years in ministry comment (0)

July 17, 2008

Marcell Burchfield’s career in the ministry will end where it began.

On Aug. 24, Burchfield will retire from 56 years of full-time ministry and his current role as pastor of Plainview Baptist Church, Birmingham, in Birmingham Baptist Association. It is the church where Burchfield was licensed to preach Aug. 24, 1952, and the one he; his wife, Martha; and their daughter, Emma Lee Mixon, attended as a young family.

From 1951 to 1956, Burchfield attended Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, hoping to discover how the Lord wanted him to serve. Although he didn’t receive a clear answer from the Lord, Burchfield said he felt nudged toward being a pastor through his religion classes.

After being licensed, Burchfield began preaching at different churches each Sunday through pulpit supply. Three years later, he became the pastor of First Baptist Church, Fultondale, where he stayed for five years before attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

But instead of a full-time ministry career, Burchfield ended up in public education after seminary graduation. He felt the Lord’s call in this direction and, for 26 years, worked as a sixth- and seventh-grade teacher at Boyles Elementary School and a principal at Tarrant Elementary School, both in Tarrant. Meanwhile he served as the bivocational pastor of Six Mile Baptist Church, Brierfield; Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster; and Calcedonia Baptist Church, Mount Olive.

During these years, Burchfield earned a master’s in education at Samford and a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

After retiring from teaching in 1989, he dedicated his life to full-time ministry, serving as interim pastor of Boyles Baptist Church, Tarrant, and pastor of First Baptist Church, Tarrant. Then Burchfield came back “home” to Plainview Baptist as pastor in 2003.

“It’s been marvelous that I’ve been able to [pastor] and people have put up with me,” Burchfield said of his half-century in ministry. “I know there are people in ministry longer, but I’m just grateful that the Lord has used me that long.”

Burchfield’s plans for retirement include becoming an active member of Plainview, spending time with family and preaching, because “You don’t quit preaching until you quit breathing if you have been called.”

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