Rev. Chelf, First Baptist pastor since 2002, will retire effective June 1

Reporter Staff Writer

Rev. Jack Chelf’s retirement will culminate a 41-year career in the ministry. Rev. Jack Chelf’s retirement will culminate a 41-year career in the ministry. Rev. Jack Chelf, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockdale for the past 12 years, has announced to his congregation that he will retire effective June 1. He said he will conduct his last service here on Sunday, May 25.

Rev. Chelf and wife LeAnne plan to retire to their farm home near Crockett in Houston County.

Civic leader—Rev. Chelf has been active in many causes in Rockdale. He served as president of the Rockdale Ministerial Alliance, chaired the South Milam County United Way board, is active in the Rotary Club and has been an avid booster of Rockdale High School athletics, activities and facilities.

He co-chaired a citizens advisory committee study that recommended the construction of Rockdale ISD’s new intermediate school and the extensive high school expansion/renovation, completed in 2009.

First Baptist also built a huge, multi-purpose Family Life Center during his time here. “Words are not adequate to express our love for this church and all the fine people we have known in this town,” he said.

Rev. Chelf began his ministry at age 19 in Winona, as part-time minister of music and youth of First Baptist in that town.

After graduation from Baylor University and seminary, he was pastor at Pine Springs Baptist Church in Tyler for five years, North Orange Baptist Church in Orange for 23 years, and then the last 12 years in Rockdale.

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