| John Gallemore Alley|
(Southern Baptist clergyman from Alexandria, Louisiana)
|Born|| December 10, 1934 |
Springhill, Webster Parish
Resident of Alexandria, Louisiana
|Spouse|| Carolyn Byrd Alley|
An only child, Alley was born in Springhlll in northern Webster Parish near the Arkansas state line, to Arthur Robert Alley (1910-1998) and the former Edna Gallemore (c. 1918-2010). His parents were too poor to afford an automobile. A native of Conroe, Texas, Arthur Alley worked for thirty-eight years in the maintenance department at International Paper Company in Springhill, a firm since dissolved. He was a deacon at Central Baptist Church in Springhill but later relocated to Alexandria to be near his son and two granddaughters. Then he joined Calvary Baptist Church at 5011 Jackson Street in Alexandria, where his son was the senior pastor from 1971 to 1999.
Alley graduated 70th in a class of 76 in 1952 from Springhill High School, since North Webster High School following school consolidations. On the recommendation of his Sunday school teacher, Joe Mayor, Alley enrolled at the Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville prior to his pastorate at Calvary church. Alley stayed five years at LC and in 1957 obtained a degree in Psychology and a minor in the English language. He then studied at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, from which he earned a degree in Philosophical Theology with minors in biblical languages. "All of it was a difficult time of learning. (One of his professors mistakenly predicted that Alley would drop out of college.) But I am grateful to God and the kind people who helped me," Alley recalled.
Married to the former Carolyn Byrd (born November 16, 1934) he is the father of two daughters, Lynn A. Wheelis and Lisa A. Smith.
In 1997, Alley participated in a committee of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, based in Alexandria, to select a consensus choice as president of the body. The convention settled on Robert E. "Brother Bob" Anderson, the pastor emeritus of Parkview Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, who came to heal political wounds that had divided the Baptists for a number of years into politically conservative and "moderate" wings. Alley said that he believed the Baptists were "slowly but surely dissipating our strength and not giving our best energies to winning the lost in Louisiana but to politics in the convention." He noted that recent baptism statistics were down in each church involved in the state convention conflict.
Alley further explained:
That is not to say the issues being discussed and debated in the convention were not real or valid. But they were taking the focus off the priority of sharing the gospel and winning Louisiana to Christ.And I personally believe the Holy Spirit works in unity and not in confusion and disharmony. I think the Bible bears that out over and over and over. So I think it is essential -- if we're going to see the power of the Holy Spirit move in Baptist life and among Baptist people -- that we humble ourselves before God and seek that (unity)."
When we talk about peace, we're not talking about peace for peace sake. It's not just peace so we won't have differences of opinion. It's not just so we'll have peace and we won't argue. It's peace so we can focus on our priority. And there is no one in the state who does not believe that our priority is winning the lost to Jesus Christ.
But the fact of the matter is -- we were losing that focus. And we were saying something to a lost world that we didn't want to say. The secular press was having a field day with our arguing and our bitterness and our public demonstrations. ... Is every issue settled? No. Are all questions answered? No. But is focus and unity being achieved? Yes.
Though a Democrat, Alley posted in 2018 on his Facebook page a long quotation from the objectivist Ayn Rand in her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, which decries how productive citizens must obtain favor from the indolent and dispossessed class to proceed with their enterprises and notes how graft and influence often dominate hard work. In such situations, "You may know that your society is doomed," Rand warned.
The current Calvary Baptist senior pastor, B. David Brooks, supervises a staff of twenty. Brooks joined the Calvary staff in 1979 at the age of twenty-three. He said that he still communicates with his predecessor nearly every day. "From day one he became my father in ministry and my father in life. He saw potential in me … He nurtured, developed, and held me accountable. Even in his retirement he continues to mentor me and clarifies the glory and power pf a local church where there is vision, leadership, hard work, and unity within a church."
Other Alexandra-Pineville clergy:
- John Alley. Mylife.com. Retrieved on July 27, 2018.
- Edna Alley obituary. The Shreveport Times (August 9, 2010). Retrieved on July 27, 2018.
- "Alumnus John Alley Recalls his LC Experience," Columns: The Magazine for Louisiana College Alumni & Friends, Summer 2020, p. 16.
- Arthur Robert Alley. The Shreveport Times (September 12, 1998). Retrieved on July 27, 2018.
- John Alley. Facebook. Retrieved on July 27, 2018.
- Carolyn Alley. Mylife.com. Retrieved on June 22, 2020.
- C. Lacy Thompson (August 27, 1997). Louisiana Baptist groups announces consensus nominee. The Baptist Press. Retrieved on July 26, 2018.
- Our Team. Calvarynet.net. Retrieved on July 27, 2018.