Preacher Glen Fann to step down after 48 years

RIPLEY – The long-time preacher for one of Ripley’s largest churches has announced his retirement. Ripley Church of Christ preacher Glen Fann, 65, has announced to the congregation that he will step down Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. He has been preaching for 48 years, the majority of which include four congregations: Ripley, Ashland, Corning, Ark.; and East Frasier in Memphis. Preacher Fann has had two stints totaling 21 years with the Ripley Church of Christ. A church member said that he is well known for his broad intellect and knowledge of the scriptures. Fann said he wants to slow down and spend more time with his grandkids and traveling. Fann has obtained three bachelor’s and four master’s degrees. He graduated from Harding University Graduate School of Religion where he received both the Master of Theology and a Master of Arts in Church History. The Master of Theology degree, a 90-hour graduate degree, is now the Doctor of Divinity degree. Fann, who is bilingual, later completed a Master of Science Degree in Spanish from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Arts Degree in American History from the University of Memphis. He said that the Master of Theology degree was extremely difficult. “There were 12 graduate hours of exit exams lasting for months that included translating large passages from Hebrew to English and Greek to English. They have removed these requirements today because it was just too strenuous on the students,” Fann said. Fann was born in Success, Ark., and grew up in St. Louis, Mo. He graduated from high school in Collinsville, Ill. in 1963. He is married to the former Judy Reed of Ashland and they have a daughter, Darla Gregory, who lives with her husband, an attorney in Houston, Texas. They have two grandchildren. During his tenure he has baptized many members and conducted many funerals. Glen said he has conducted 58 funerals in the last nine years here at Ripley. Church members credit Glen’s powerful well-constructed and researched sermons for his two long tenures at the Ripley Church of Christ. Among Churches of Christ, it is rare for a minister to stay more than six to eight years and almost unheard of to stay longer than that — two different times. Fann is described as a free spirit, very fun and jovial in life; however, very serious and genuine in the pulpit. One member quipped that “he can’t remember folks’ names, but he can tell you the Greek words of the scriptures.” Another church member said, “He begins each sermon with a scripture. Many modern preachers spend 10 to 15 minutes of their sermon with personal stories and the news of the week, but not Glen. He begins and ends with the Bible. Glen can say more in ten minutes than many preachers can say in an hour.” He is also known for his eloquent funeral sermons filled with quotations of the scriptures. He often tells church members, “I’m a southern Yankee.” He holds your attention with both powerful and tender moments in the sermon and it is very obvious that he has spent many hours on the lesson. During Glen’s career he has hand typed his sermons in outline form on 5 x 8 index cards. He has a library of more than 10,000 books and thousands of archived sermons. Glen is also known for reading many books each year. James D. Nunnally, an Elder with the Ripley church said of Fann, “He is the master of the four-point 20-minute sermon. He will be sadly missed and we wish him the very best in all his future endeavors. He will have a lasting legacy with us.” He further related that the Ripley church will begin immediately the process of finding a new preacher. Churches of Christ are autonomous, meaning there is no hierarchy or organization above the local church. Each congregation, according to their New Testament belief, is governed by Elders and served by Deacons to carry out various tasks. The preacher is simply a member of the church hired to preach the Gospel and to minister to the congregation. Fann said, “Preachers come and go, it is the unchanging and living Gospel that is important.” Concluded one church member: “The preacher who was born in Success certainly became a success and how thankful we are that he came our way.”

Southern Sentinel