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Alexander City pastor retires for second time comment (0)

September 11, 2008

Retirement the second time around is proving twice as nice for Ralph Jernigan. The longtime pastor is catching up on his reading and enjoying the view from the home he and wife Kathryn share on Lake Martin. Jernigan first retired in 1993 from First Baptist Church, Talladega, but was convinced to re-enter the ministry a few years later by New Beginning Baptist Church, Alexander City. He was initially called as interim pastor of the Tallapoosa Baptist Association church and then was asked to take the job on a more permanent basis. At first, Jernigan hesitated but agreed to pray about it.

“I told them I was too old,” he said. Jernigan wound up staying at New Beginning Baptist eight years, retiring for the second time earlier this year. Called to preach more than 60 years ago, Jernigan was ordained in 1949 at age 18 at First Baptist Church, Enterprise. He went on to serve as pastor of churches in Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Houston, Crenshaw, Jefferson and Talladega counties, sometimes serving two or three small rural churches at a time.

Along the way, Jernigan earned a bachelor’s degree at Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham and master of divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he subsequently served as a trustee. He also served on the boards of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries and The Baptist Foundation of Alabama. “I’ve enjoyed a fine ministry, and I thank the Lord for it,” Jernigan said.

Married for 56 years, the Jernigans have three sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife is a retired schoolteacher and church organist. Jernigan, who hopes to supply preach on occasion, may be reached at 256-825-4251.

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