Trinity Christian Fellowship Calls Senior Pastor
BY JUNE VETTER
Special to The Pilot
Trinity Christian Fellowship voted to call Dr. Al Hill as its first senior pastor during a congregational meeting held Sunday, June 24.
Hill currently serves as a co-pastor of the church along with Dr. Larry Ellis, who will become pastor emeritus.
"When Dr. Ellis made the council aware he would like to move to a pastor emeritus position, the council voted to recommend Dr. Hill as the senior pastor to the congregation," said David Bias, council chair. "When the results of the vote were announced, a standing ovation greeted Dr. Hill and his wife, Joanne.
Both pastors will assume their new positions on Aug. 1.
"Trinity has been a remarkably exciting and vibrant fellowship since its birth last year," said Hill. "Dr. Ellis and I have been inspired by what God has been doing with our church and our people, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in ministry that began with my arrival in the Pinehurst area four years ago.
"The vote of the congregation reflects a shifting of responsibilities between the two of us that seemed appropriate now that Trinity is well-established and preparing for the next phase in God's plan for us. Dr. Ellis will remain very engaged in ministry here, but felt it was time to let go of some of the day-to-day administrative duties."
Hill, a Southern Baptist minister, grew up in Gadsden, Ala., and attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1971 to 1973. While there, he sensed a call to Christian ministry, and left Annapolis to prepare for his life's work.
He attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he earned his Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.
While in seminary, he served as pastor of West Point Baptist Church in Matanzas, Ky.
In his final year in seminary, Hill, sensing God calling him to consider military chaplaincy as his ministry vocation, met with a Navy Chaplain recruiting officer - Commander Larry Ellis.
Hill applied for a commission and was accepted as a chaplain candidate in 1978. After graduation that summer, he and his wife, Joanne, moved to Virginia, where he served as pastor of First View Baptist Church in Norfolk.
In the fall of 1980, Hill began a distinguished career as an active duty Navy chaplain. Over the following 28 years, he served in Navy and Marine Corps commands, ashore and afloat, including six Navy chapels, the last three as senior chaplain.
In the summer of 2008, he retired from the Navy with 30 years of commissioned service, the last eight in the rank of captain. His personal awards include Navy Commendation Medals, Meritorious Service Medals, and the Legion of Merit.
The Hills came to Pinehurst in 2008, accepting a call from The Village Chapel for Hill to serve as its associate pastor. After three years in that position, he left the Chapel, along with Dr. Ellis, and the two accepted the call of several hundred people to become the founding co-pastors of a new interdenominational congregation: Trinity Christian Fellowship.
"None of us at Trinity has ever experienced anything like what God has done with us this past year, and many of us have been active in churches all our lives," Hill said. "As a Navy chaplain, I had to start new chapel programs from time to time, but I never had hundreds of excited, gifted and dedicated people to do it with like we've had with Trinity."
For information about the church and its programs, call (910) 215-5775 or visit www.trinitycf.net.
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