When Randy and Mary Jane James began a life of full-time church ministry together more than four decades ago, they could not have known all the places that journey would take them. May 30 marks a milestone in that journey – retirement. That’s the day that the home of their current ministry, Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene, will say farewell to the couple with a retirement reception open to the entire Fayette Plateau community.
“They’ve been with us only five years, and those have gone by in a snap, but we get to be the ones to mark the end of this phase of their ministry,” says event organizer Donna Legg-Hendrickson. “They’ve touched a lot of lives – not just here in Oak Hill, but around the world,” she says.
The reception for Pastor Randy and Mary Jane will be held in the O.C. Rushing Center at 3221 East Main Street in Oak Hill. It’s the same building where their relationship with the Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene began with an interview in 2014. “We didn’t know much about West Virginia then, and even less about Oak Hill,” said Pastor James, “but we knew one thing right away – this is where God wanted us.”
The feeling of knowing something was right resembles the feeling they got about each other back in 1973 when Randy was invited to play bass guitar for an Indiana gospel quartet in which Mary Jane was the lead singer. They were married just over a year later, and in the ensuing years they were blessed to become parents to daughter Toni and son Rick, both of whom are now in full-time ministry.
Both members of the pair believe in the power of education. Randy has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts (both from Trevecca Nazarene University) and a Doctorate in Church Administration from Trinity Seminary. Ever the student, he is about to complete a Master of Divinity program with Union University in California.
Mary Jane’s educational resume is full as well. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in Education. She has taught elementary school in four states and is a certified counselor.
In addition to a stint as traveling evangelists, Randy and Mary Jane’s path has found them in ministry positions in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and, most recently, West Virginia. For several years, the pair served as missionaries at Africa Nazarene University in Kenya, when Randy was chaplain and lecturer at the university and Mary Jane filled several roles.
After faithfully serving the Lord for 42 years in ministry, Randy and Mary Jane are retiring to Ohio where they will be able to spend time with their six-year old grandson Alex.
“This isn’t an end – just a new beginning,” says Mary Jane. “We get to see our two children carry on working for our Lord – and we’ll be doing the same, just in different ways.”
The community is invited to the farewell reception for Randy and Mary Jane James, which will be held Thursday, May 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the O.C. Rushing Family Life Center, located at 3221 East Main Street in Oak Hill. For more information, contact Donna-Legg Hendrickson at 304-640-7988.