There’s no doubt in my mind that as he entered those “Pearly Gates,” Ivan Raley heard these words from the Lord he loved and served for more than 65 years, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
A native of Jackson, Bro. Ivan was a former vice president for Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home and a Baptist pastor who spent his life sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, California and even to the “ends of the earth” in Central and South America, Amsterdam, Mexico and Africa.
For the past 18 years, Bro. Ivan served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Byrdstown. The people there loved him. And, when he was diagnosed with stage four non-alcoholic related cirrhosis of the liver approximately three years ago, First Baptist members rallied around their pastor and would not let him quit.
I went to Byrdstown two years ago and featured Bro. Ivan and this dedicated church who loved their pastor so much that they told him he is their pastor until he decides he can no longer do so or God calls him home. Well, God called him home this week.
I had the privilege of calling Bro. Ivan “friend. He was very supportive of me and the paper and I always enjoyed the times we could share in conversations either in person or by telephone. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him. B&R — Funeral services for Ivan Raley will be held on Saturday, July 25, at 1 p.m. at FBC, Byrdstown, with burial in the Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson on Sunday, July 26, at 3 p.m.