D. James Kennedy Retires

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Founder and Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Steps Down from Pulpit with Rich Legacy of FaithCoral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., today announced the retirement of Dr. D. James Kennedy, senior pastor, assuring the congregation and international broadcast audience that the church and related ministries will continue moving forward in the direction set by this visionary leader after founding the church more than 48 years ago in 1959.“We thank the Lord for His faithfulness to my father over nearly one-half century, through the impact this church has made in the lives of people in this congregation and community and the influence he has had on countless individuals around the world through radio and television,” said daughter Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy.“From the beginning, this has been the Lord’s ministry, and we are confident He will raise up other godly men equally committed to proclaiming biblical truth and applying the transforming message of the Gospel in our lives, our families and our culture,” Mrs. Cassidy continued. “The long-range planning committee and denominational session have been developing next steps and working to ensure the church continues to grow and thrive.”Dr. Kennedy, 76, preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered a cardiac arrest four days later and has since been unable to return to the pulpit. A tribute worship service honoring the extensive ministry of Dr. Kennedy will be held in the main sanctuary of the church at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 23.Dr. Kennedy started the church and began his pastorate on June 21, 1959, and had from the outset a vision for global impact for Christ. An author of more than 65 books, moral leader and widely quoted champion for righteousness in American life, he is one of the founding board members of the Alliance Defense Fund. In 1995, he opened the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Christian Statesmanship to offer spiritual counsel to members of Congress and their staffs.Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, called Dr. Kennedy one of the Church’s “truly significant figures.” In a statement to Dr. Kennedy, Dobson said, “For decades now, you have stood strong in defense of faith, family, and most importantly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Believers around the world are indebted to you for your vision and leadership.”Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters echoed his gratitude for Dr. Kennedy’s faithful service to ministry. “As Dr. Kennedy retires from the scene of active ministry, I praise God for giving the Church this man of vision so committed to the Kingdom of God,” said Wright. “With his godly wisdom, his courageous heart and his consistent example, he has inspired millions to love, follow and serve Jesus Christ. Dr. Kennedy is a man among men who will continue to cast a long shadow in the lives of those who know and love him.”The announcement of Dr. Kennedy’s retirement begins a process by the church of choosing a successor to fill the pulpit and office of senior minister. This procedure is well-defined in the constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination to which Coral Ridge belongs. The officers of the church will assess the church’s needs and supervise the election, by the congregation, of a pulpit search committee comprised of a cross section of members. This committee will evaluate, interview and listen to numerous candidates before making its recommendation to the congregation for a vote.As outlined in PCA bylaws, the congregation will have the final voice in determining the new senior minister to succeed Dr. Kennedy. The entire process of succession is expected to take between one and two years. Currently CRPC continues under the governance of the elders, elected by the congregation and serving as a session. Rev. Ronald L. Siegenthaler, executive minister of the church, will implement the policies of the governing body as he supervises the day-to-day events of the various ministry departments.“Dr. Kennedy’s moral leadership and his legacy of impacting the globe for Jesus Christ are matched by few in recent Church history,” Rev. Siegenthaler said. “It is our desire to honor him by sustaining and multiplying his impact through Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church as well as all of the ministries he founded.”In 1960, Dr. Kennedy read the words of Jeremiah 33:3 to the handful of people who comprised his then-fledgling congregation, “Call unto Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” He then told his small flock, “You know what? I believe we can change the world!”Dr. Kennedy’s belief that God will continue to do “great and mighty things” through the obedient efforts of His people never faltered. In his closing prayer at a festive 75th birthday celebration on his behalf in 2005, he expressed the confidence to the Lord that the best is yet to be. “We believe You are yet going to change the world in a far greater fashion,” he said.In addition to pastoring the church, Dr. Kennedy is founder and president of Coral Ridge Ministries which produces his radio and television outreach, making him one of the nation’s leading Christian broadcasters. Other ministries founded by Dr. Kennedy include WAFG Radio 90.3 FM in Fort Lauderdale; Evangelism Explosion, which equips Christians to share the Gospel message with others; Westminster Academy®, a nationally respected Pre-K to grade 12 Christian school; and Knox Theological Seminary, a graduate school training Christians for lifelong ministry as pastors, teachers and missionaries.Despite being a local pastor of one church for nearly five decades, Dr. Kennedy has had a worldwide ministry influence. In 1996, Evangelism Explosion, through which nearly 5 million people have made commitments to Christ over 35 years, became the first Christian ministry to be established in every nation on earth. Long after his retirement, an extensive inventory of Dr. Kennedy’s messages will continue through “Truths that Transform,” a daily broadcast carried on nearly 750 radio stations across the U.S., and “The Coral Ridge Hour,” a weekly television broadcast that airs on more than 400 stations and to 165 nations on the Armed Forces Network.A legacy Web site, http://www.DJamesKennedy.org, has been developed to pay tribute to the life and faith of Dr. Kennedy.

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