Pastor Al Cockrell

Dear Church Family,

It is with both sadness and joy that I share with you that Pastor Al Cockrell, former Senior Pastor of The Chapel from 2000-2006, has departed us and entered the beauty of Jesus’ presence. He did so at perfect peace, and with a soul-deep longing to see His Savior.

Pastor Al and his precious wife Janie were critical to the ministry of The Chapel. After the passing of Rev. James Andrews, the founding pastor of The Chapel who led from January of 1961 to December of 1999, Pastor Al was called by God to lead this ministry through mourning the death of the only pastor they had ever known as well as helping this congregation move into the future of fruitful ministry. He did both masterfully. And after serving here, the Lord used Pastor Al in other church settings as well as leading a Mission organization. His life and ministry have impacted countless people through his service to King Jesus, and I count myself as one of them – just as many of you do.

Pastor Al was instrumental in my coming to Buffalo. He is who initiated contact with me while I was in Florida, and by God’s gracious leading I had the privilege of co-pastoring the church alongside him for a few years after my arrival. I can say, without reservation, that if I had to do it all over again I would gladly do it all over again. Pastor Al and Janie have been so gracious to me and my family, and I cannot overstate how helpful he was in setting up The Chapel for longer-term fruitful ministry. He and Janie have always been faithful to pray for me and my family, and the family of The Chapel – and he did so even to the end of his days on earth. Pastor Al was faithful to his wife and family, faithful to his calling, and faithful to the Lord Jesus above all. I have seen him in both public and private life, and his life magnified Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said “Give to everyone what you owe them…: if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7). I gladly offer Pastor Al both respect and honor, and I am grateful that I was able to express that to him many times. As a church, we too should both respect and honor this man – he served us faithfully for the season God called him here and we thank God for the fruit that was born from his ministry.

In that spirit, we will be hosting a memorial service at The Chapel on a date in the near future to honor his life. Though the family is hosting a memorial service in North Carolina where he passed, they agreed it would be fitting to do one here as well. For any of you that have been impacted by his life and legacy, you will be welcome to join us. We will communicate details as soon as we make those plans with the family.

As Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Thank you for joining me in praying for God’s grace to strengthen Janie, along with Brek, Thad, Jonathan, and their families. 

With Love,

Pastor Jerry

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