Alabama Baptist pastor found dead in church - Word&Way

Alabama Baptist pastor found dead in church

SOMERVILLE, Ala. (ABP) — A Southern Baptist pastor was found dead April 7 in his Alabama church, apparently after suffering a heart attack.

Pastor Rodney Bowling (center) celebrated paying off money borrowed for church property with a note-burning ceremony. (

According to the Associated Press, investigators ruled out foul play in the death of Rodney Bowling, 46, pastor of Grace Point Baptist Church in Somerville, Ala. A sheriff's deputy found his body around 7 a.m. after being summoned to check on him.

According to the church Web site, Bowling started Grace Point Baptist Church in the small north Alabama town three years ago with a Bible study held in a family's garage.

The next week the group moved to the Cotaco Volunteer Fire Department, where on a few occasions firefighters in the congregation were paged out of services to respond to a call. The church purchased property in 2006 and moved into a new building in 2008.

The AP said Bowling had been a preacher for more than 25 years, serving as pastor of churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He leaves a wife, Johnna, and three children.

Visitation was scheduled Wednesday, April 8, with funeral services scheduled at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 9, at the church. Wednesday night services and a scheduled Easter-egg hunt were canceled, but the church planned to go ahead with an Easter sunrise service on April 12 led by Donnell Brown, director of missions for Morgan Baptist Association.