The First Presbyterian Church will honor Reverend Alan Ford for his 35 year commitment to the church and the community at a retirement reception, Sunday, April 28, 2013, from 2-4 p.m., at the church, 4th and Main Streets, Newport.  Everyone is invited.

Reverend Alan Ford, an English-born churchman, emigrated to the United States in the 1950's.  He became a U.S. citizen and served three years in the U.S. Army in Italy.  He earned his divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1978.  As an ordained minister, he began searching for a position.  At the same time, the First Presbyterian Church in Newport was in need of a minister and invited him to come here for what he calls a "trial run."  That trial run resulted in a 35 year relationship between Rev. Ford, his church and the community as a whole.  He moved to Newport with his wife Roxann and their children, Scott, Jill and Debbie.  The family now includes five grandchildren.   His leadership to the church includes serving, in 1999, as Moderator of the Arkansas Presbytery, the highest ecclesiastical officer of the Presbytery.  In 2005, he was elected Moderator of the regional body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), called the Synod of the Sun.  Serving AR, LA, OK and TX, the Synod is comprised of 11 Presbyteries with 900 congregations containing 200,000 Presbyterians.  He has also served as a trustree of Lyon College, a Presbyterian-related school in Batesville.   Rev. Ford's commitment has stretched beyond the church walls to include involvement in the community.  He serves on the Newport Ministerial Alliance, has served on the Newport City Council and has been a member several civic organizations.   Called a minister of all the people, Rev. Ford is a kind and pastoral leader who has provided spiritual help to any and all, not only the members of First Presbyterian.  The admiration and friendship of all the people who wish him well are a testimony to the love by so many for a really good man who goes about witnessing for The Lord Jesus Christ.