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St. Paul’s welcomes new rector

Pastor Jack Alvey, middle, poses for a photo with his wife Jamie, left, and daughter Mary Katherine, right, Friday at the St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Lauderdale Street. He accepted a call to serve as the rector of the church and his first sermon will be Sunday at 8 a.m. with an additional sermon at 10 a.m. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

Pastor Jack Alvey, middle, poses for a photo with his wife Jamie, left, and daughter Mary Katherine, right, Friday at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Lauderdale Street. He accepted a call to serve as the rector of the church and his first sermon will be Sunday at 8 a.m. with an additional sermon at 10 a.m. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

Rev. Jack Alvey will return to the church he and his wife met Sunday, but this time it will be to deliver his first sermon as the church’s pastor.

Alvey is the rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, following Rev. David Powell, who retired earlier this year. Alvey will deliver his first sermon as the church’s rector Sunday at 8 a.m., with an additional sermon following at 10 a.m.

Avery said Selma has become an even more exciting town with young families moving back to their home in Selma, the arts community blossoming and other great happenings.

“I was so excited about the possibility for ministry here that I couldn’t sleep at night,” Alvey said. “It’s an exciting time in the life of Selma, and it was very clear in the interview process. It’s like you’re on the cusp of something wonderful and great, and the opportunity to be a part of that was very attractive to me.”

Alvey served as an associate rector for All Saints Episcopal Church in Birmingham for five years before returning to Selma.

Starting in March, the searching committee spent months looking for a rector, said committee member Becky Youngblood.

Once the group narrowed the candidates down to a manageable number, they attended the church services where those reverends preached.

The vote for Alvey was unanimous.

Youngblood said she knew she would vote for Alvey the moment she saw him, and the sermon she heard at his church confirmed it.

“As soon as see him, you can see Christ in his face,” Youngblood said. “He’s just happy and full of the love of Christ. When I heard his sermon, he talked about real-life things.”

Alvey said his preaching style is often comical and always relatable. He’s known to incorporate real-life experiences with his daughter Mary Katherine, 1, into his sermons.

“I think God’s word is alive, “Alvey said. “I think what Jesus said about 2,000 years still lives in our churches today and our own life today.”

Alvey has visited the church a few times before as a part of statewide retreat, which is how he met wife Jamie. Because he’s so familiar with the congregation, he’s more excited than nervous about his first sermon as pastor.

“Everyone has just been so warm and generous and gracious that it’s gotten to the point where I feel like I can’t mess up, because they’re going to be so forgiving of me and loving,” Alvey said.