Elder J. Leon Etheredge

Elder Leon Etheredge

Elder Leon Etheredge

Elder J. Leon Etheredge was born November 16, 1931 at Ozark, Dale County, Alabama the fourth of five children born to Elder S. W. Etheredge and Lena Hester. Elder  Leon  was  raised  in  a  God  fearing,  devout  Primitive  Baptist  home.  After graduating  from high school, and spending  four years  in  the US Air Force he used the GI bill and earned a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University in December 1957.

While in college he married Betty Jo Spurlock of Ozark, Alabama. His wife had a  small  son  from  a  previous marriage  and  there were  three  children  born  to  this union. His experience of being called out of nature’s darkness into God’s marvelous light happened the first Sunday in December 1963. His loving companion had taken the  three  boys  and  gone  to  the  Missionary  Baptist  Church  of  her  membership, leaving him at home with their daughter. While languishing in bed that Sunday morning, a very strong urge moved him to search for a church he had seen which had indications of being a Primitive Baptist Church.

At a nearby home he  learned  that  the church was of  the Primitive Baptist  faith and  that  there would be  services second Sunday night at 6:30. They went home and when his wife returned,  their daughter ran  to her and said “Mama, Daddy has  found  a  church.” He  shared his  experience with his wife  and  she  agreed  to  go with him  the next Sunday night.

He  said  that was  longest week  he  ever  spent. The  time  finally  came  to  go  to  church. He  and  his  family  arrived shortly after 6:00 PM and those who came were friendly and warmly welcomed them.

He  and his wife were baptized  into  the  fellowship  of Bethel Church by Elder  S.W. Etheredge  in April  of  1964, among a flood of tears. Elder Leon says  that  if he was ever called to preach  the Gospel of the Son of God,  it was  the same day he had the urge to go look for the church building described earlier.

At  the  request of Elder Gene Thomas, Elder Leon made his  first  effort  to  speak  in  the name of God  at Bethel Church in June 1965, and was ordained to the full work of the Gospel Ministry in June of 1966. He was soon called to serve  three Primitive Baptist Churches of  the Mud Creek Association. A  few  years  later, he was  called  as one of  the pastors of another church  in the Mud Creek Association. Since that time, he has continuously served as pastor of four churches in the area. As of February 2000, he serves Hurricane Church of the Flint River Association and Bethel, Union and Bethlehem Churches in the Mud Creek Association.