Reece to retire from First United Methodist

Published 8:13 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

“It’s been a blessing.”

That is how Jim Reece described the last five years of his life serving as pastor for First United Methodist Church of Atmore. In just under two months, Reece will be turning over that role to a new minister as he retires after 37 total years of ministry.



Although Reece has served the United Methodist Church all over the world, he said there will always be a special place in his heart for his final full-time appointment in Atmore.

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“Atmore, both the church and the town, has been perhaps the friendliest place we have served,” Reece said. “I’ve received far more here than I’ve given. We are truly thankful for having been sent here.”

Reece, a Brewton native, certainly has a lot to compare Atmore to, having ministered as a pastor, supply pastor or student pastor for eight churches in the Alabama/West Florida Conference. Thanks to time spent as a military chaplain in the U.S. Army, Reece has also served around the world. Reece said his missionary work in Costa Rica, Mexico, South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the West Indies was a blessing to be able to experience.

“I could not have done that without the church’s endorsement,” he said.

It was also the church that sent Reece and his wife, Mary, to Atmore.

“It’s been so great to be back in Escambia County,” he said. “The people are just so sweet.”

Reece said the decision to retire was something he felt came from the Lord.

“I just had a deep conviction that this was the time,” he said.

Reece said he and Mary will relocate to Hoover, Ala. to be closer to family, adding he will likely continue to serve in ministry in a part time role.

FUMC’s new pastor, Deborah Bishop, currently an associate pastor for a Methodist church in Spanish Fort, will take over for Reece in the pulpit Sunday, July 7. Reece will preach his final sermon at FUMC Sunday, June 30.