Cummings to retire after 34 years in ministry

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

He’s a leader. He has a great heart for missions. He’s a great husband and father — those are all characteristics of long-time Covington County minister Larry Cummings, according to his peers.

Cummings will retire from his 34-year stint as a pastor at the end of next month.


Covi-ngton Baptist Assoc-iation spoke-sperson Byram Lambert said Cummings, who has spent the last 11 years as the director of missions for the association will be greatly missed.

Before taking his position at CBA, Cummings served as pastor of Opp’s Westview Baptist Church for 12 years, when he came to the county from Ponce de Leon, Fla.

“He has also served on several state boards, such as the Alabama State Board of Missions in Montgomery,” Lambert said. “He’s really drawn all 54 of churches together. He has served untiringly in helping churches with search committees with searches for ministers of music and any other needs.”

Additionally, Lambert said Cummings has filled in for many local churches as interim pastor.

Cummings said it’s been a joy to be a part of Christians’ lives in good times and in bad.

“I’ve spent 24 years in Covington County, “ he said. “And some of the best people are here.”

“I’ve known him since the mid-1980s, we went to school together in Florida,” said the Rev. Bill Pritchett, pastor of Southside Andalusia. “He is a member at Southside Baptist. And as the director of missions, I’ve had the privilege of working with him for eight wonderful years. He’s a great director of missions. Larry has a great, great heart for people, and has an amazing passion and heart of missions.”

Pritchett said he believes Cummings’ great contribution has been the way the association’s mission efforts and programs have developed.

“We have partnerships in the Ukraine, Ecuador, and we’re sending teams multiple times a year to Haiti,” he said. “We are partnered in the U.S. with Michigan, and Larry was the primary catalyst to bring this about. He’s going to be sorely missed and leave tremendously big shoes to fill.

“He is one of the best people to work with,” Pritchett said. “He knows Alabamians and he has a great love and heart for this state.”

The Rev. Scott Ferguson, pastor of Westview Baptist Church in Opp, agreed.

“Brother Larry was just with us two weeks ago for homecoming,” he said. “I shared with the congregations that much of what we are able to do is a direct result of what he did during his time here, and now he continues to promote and support what we do. He is a good and Godly man, who led Westview. During his time here, they relocated the church to a brand-new facility. I have the highest admiration for him as a leader, father and as a husband.”

Florala First Baptist Church pastor Charlie Lennard described Cummings as a “real mission-minded person.”

“He sets the pace for how fast we meet our goals,” he said. “He has a good reputation and is respected by not only the association but state leaders, as well. He will be highly missed. He is a great leader, and they are hard to find.”

Lennard compared Cummings to the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do and helped King David.

“They were those who knew and saw the visions,” he said. “I think Larry has the tremendous ability to see down the road, which is something we need in the ministry.”

Andalusia’s First Baptist Church pastor Dr. Fred Karthaus described Cummings as a pastor to all pastors.

“He’s our friend, but in many ways, he’s been our pastor,” he said. “I believe that he serves with a pastor’s heart. He has a passion for missions that has led our association to broaden its missions efforts. He’s a man of integrity and will be greatly missed in our county.

Cummings said he’s very grateful for the missions.

“We have opened a mission scholarship for people who go on first-time mission trips,” he said. “A number of people worked to make that reality.”

Local twins Robert and Madison Copeland have been among the recipients of the mission scholarship, which helped cover the cost of their passports for a mission trip in 2010 to the Cayman Islands.

“It was a blessing to know that there is a program in our backyard like this one,” Robert Copeland said. “We didn’t have to go to Montgomery, Birmingham or searching online to find aid.”

Cummings said he’s going to miss having contact with the people of the 54 member churches.

“For the last 11 years they’ve become very special to me,” he said. “We have smaller and larger churches – all of them are unique. I’ve appreciated the support and they opportunity to serve.”

Cummings said he and wife, Genia, plan to relocate to Alexander City to be near family, but other than that, they don’t have any specific retirement plans.

“We’re going to be actively involved in the Lord’s work, but we don’t know what that is yet,” he said.

A reception will be held this Sun., Dec. 4, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Covington Baptist Association.