Allen Temple Baptist Church Senior Pastor J. Alfred Smith Jr., surrounded by deacons and standing next to Assistant Pastor Jacqueline A. Thompson, announced his retirement on Sunday, Aug. 6. Photo by Sue Taylor.
During Communion Sunday services Aug. 6, Allen Temple Baptist Church Senior Pastor J. Alfred Smith Jr. announced he is retiring effective Jan. 31, 2019, or possibly as early as Sept. 30, 2018, if a new pastor is found.
Pastor Smith has been Senior Pastor at Allen Temple at 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland for over eight years after the retirement of his father, Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.
“I made it very clear to everyone that based on my mature age at that time (when he was selected to serve), I would not be able to plan for a long tenure, but would run my leg of the race as best I could, and then hand the baton over to a younger, fresher runner,” Pastor Smith wrote in a letter to the Allen Temple family dated Aug. 5.
Assistant Pastor Jacqueline A. Thompson stood next to Pastor Smith at the church podium surrounded by Allen Temple deacons as he made his announcement.
“Pastor Jackie may be our next Senior Pastor, but it is up to the Holy Spirit to make that decision,” he said.
Deacon Board President Ted Carter announced that after celebrating Pastor Smith’s tenure, the church membership will convene prayer meetings and town halls, receive input from individual congregation members, and then follow the church constitution in selecting a new senior pastor.
Allen Temple’s constitution dictates the selection process. When a finalist is found and has preached two services at the church, the congregation votes by secret ballot whether to affirm the candidate.
“The church does not belong to me, or the Smith Family, but to Jesus Christ,” said Pastor Smith, as he reminisced on the five generations of the Smith family that have served Allen Temple.
“As the church draws near its 100th Anniversary and the dawn of a new era, I believe that the Lord has new vision and new leadership in store for Allen Temple,” he said.