Christian Living

ChurchWatch 07/06/07

Coral Ridge Leader, Rev. D. James Kennedy, Retires

The Rev. D. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Church and host of one of the nation's most prominent Christian television programs, has retired from ministry. Jennifer Kennedy, daughter of D. James and Anne Kennedy, made the announcement Sunday at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rev. Kennedy founded and led the church for the last 48 years.

Jennifer called this special service a “family reunion.” It may be the first time in the church’s history when only one service was held.

The 76-year-old Kennedy suffered a heart attack last December 28th during which he was deprived of oxygen for eight minutes, resulting in a brain injury and loss of short-term memory.

Along with oversight of one of America's mega churches, Kennedy was also the host of The Coral Ridge Hour, a weekly television broadcast that airs on more than 600 stations, four cable networks, across 145 nations.

The Coral Ridge Hour is the third most-widely syndicated weekly Christian television program. Altogether, some 3.5 million people listen weekly to CRM programming on radio or television.

National Religious Broadcasters President Frank Wright says the Reverend Kennedy is "fully cognizant," but can no longer preach or lead his church and related Coral Ridge Ministries.

Wright says, "One of the great lions of our faith is leaving the field of battle."

"Dr. Kennedy's retirement from the church is a very significant event in the life of this local congregation," said Brian E. Fisher, Executive Vice President of Coral Ridge Ministries, which is a separate and distinct organization from the church. "Our prayers are with him, his family, and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church as it seeks a Senior Minister to fill the pastoral leadership role held with such distinction and impact by Dr. Kennedy."

"At the same time, the retirement of Dr. Kennedy from the church does not directly affect Coral Ridge Ministries," said Fisher. "Across the street here at CRM, we are amazed at how, by God's grace, He is opening new doors for the growth of this ministry."

"Prior to his absence, Dr. Kennedy and our Board of Directors were intimately involved in the building and approval of an aggressive five year plan for this ministry. Dr. Kennedy's vision for CRM has always been to reach as many people as possible for the Gospel through media, and our long range plan embodies that vision."

"Our beloved pastor and teacher has laid an incredible foundation for us to carry on his work of taking the Gospel to all nations and peoples."

According to Fisher, Coral Ridge Ministries has initiated a five-year strategic plan to increase its outreach from 3 million to 30 million people by 2012 via television, radio, print, and the Internet using the teachings and inspirations of Dr. Kennedy. That plan includes a media library containing nearly all of Dr. Kennedy's print, audio, and video messages over the last four decades.

Coral Ridge Ministries is also harnessing new media, including video on demand, mobile phone delivery, curriculum development, and innovative short-form convergent presentations on topics such as abortion, America's Christian history, and biblical authority.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with Dr. Kennedy, his wife, Anne, and daughter Jennifer, as he enters retirement," Fisher added. "He is much loved and we sorely miss him. We are grateful to God for his moral and spiritual leadership and his legacy of in-depth biblical teaching on a wide range of matters. He has left us a rich storehouse of biblical truth that will serve as the foundation for this ministry's growth in the years to come."

Details about Dr. Kennedy's retirement from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where he has served since 1959, may be found at www.DJamesKennedy.org.

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