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Faith Worship Center remembers life of former Pastor Mark Ridgeway

By Allie Root,


SUMITON, Ala. ( WIAT ) — It’s the first Sunday following tragedy for a church in Sumiton.

Church members dedicated the service to honoring the life of their longtime pastor and friend Mark Ridgeway, who tragically passed away Wednesday in a bus incident.

It was at Faith Worship Center where Ridgeway served many years as senior pastor.

Following his recent retirement, the interim pastors said they will never be able to truly fill his shoes, but that they will continue his mission of growing the church and spreading the gospel for all to hear.

Members said Ridgeway meant everything to their church. They said he always put God and the lives of others before himself.

“He always said that we’re here to strengthen homes and marriages and relationships and family,” Herman Osborn said, a church councilman and interim pastor.

Grieving community says goodbye to beloved teacher and pastor

“We’re going to continue on doing the things that he taught us to do all of those years so that this church will go forward in Christ,” church member Shellie Henderson said.

Billy Barton, who serves as the other interim pastor, said Ridgeway was always a compassionate man. Ridgeway was present for Barton’s daughter when her baby died.

“She had a child that was born and lived 17 days, and the child lived in an incubator, but Brother Mark was right there with us,” Barton said.

Barton said they will remember his unconditional love forever and that he will always be their pastor.

“Through trials trouble and tribulations, he was always right there to help,” Barton said. “Always right there to be an encourager and try to help everybody like he did me and my family.”


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Osborn said he knew the first Sunday without his longtime friend would be hard, but that Ridgeway would want them to continue on having faith and trust in God.

“I’ve got to face the rest of my life without my best friend, but it won’t be long,” Osborn said.

Those closest to Ridgeway say they are heartbroken over the loss of their friend, pastor and mentor but find peace in knowing they will see him again one day.

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