The Heart of Kernersville

By NJ Clausen

Hello, everyone! After some early scorchers, we officially welcome summer on June 20th this year. Before the solstice, June 16th is the day to celebrate Father’s Day. This month I would like to introduce you to a man who is a Husband, Father, Pastor, Chaplain, and Author… Dr. Allen Ferry.

Allen was born in Pennsylvania, entering the world 7 years after his sister. When asked about a favorite childhood memory, Allen smiled as he recalled that in the summer he and his father would travel and go woodchuck hunting. The farmers loved them, as the woodchucks were always destroying property and digging holes. Whatever was shot would be brought to a friend who had a fox farm–a favorite meal of the foxes! The pair also enjoyed fishing, mostly for trout.

When Allen was 15, his parents divorced, and he did not see his dad for a few years. Allen’s mother was nominated as a replacement for a cook at a camp and when the pastor came to interview her, she would only agree to take the job if her son could go and work there, too. Allen did dishes, mowed lawns, and went there for 4 years, where the local pastor took an interest in him and became his pastor. It was through this compassionate man that Allen learned pastoral ministry and gained biblical knowledge.

During his high school years, Allen enjoyed his math classes, and thought he might become a CPA. However, in his Junior and Senior years he decided he wanted to serve the Lord and made the switch. When he came to the Lord, Allen’s life changed. Allen became involved with a youth ministry group and was also lettered as a member of the Rifle team.

After high school, Allen continued his education at Baptist Bible College (now called Clark Summit University). At 19 he was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and had surgery to remove several moles which brought his recovery expectation rate from 15% (before surgery) to 85% (following surgery). Before and after the surgery, Dr. Jacobs encouraged Allen to heal in other ways and to reconcile with his father.
In his junior year he met his future wife Theresa. They married and moved to Michigan, where Allen graduated from Cornerstone University. He acquired his preaching license and the family of four, which now included his son Mark and daughter Julaine, moved to Vermont for 2 years where he served two congregations simultaneously. Following this learning experience, he served as Pastor and administrator in Massachusetts for 4 years before continuing his education at the Dallas Theological Seminary.

After graduating, the family moved to New York, where Allen was approached by a member of the National Guard about becoming a Chaplain. Medical history prevented him from joining at that time. Years later it was determined that he could do whatever was required of a Chaplain and he was approved for the Army Reserve and later to the Army National Guard. While in Iraq in 2005, he was asked to write a book for part of a series, and his was entitled “A Man & His Country,” which was published in 2007.
Allen remembers watching a television show where they were interviewing Chaplains about prison ministry. This started leaving an impression on him; that it was something he needed to do. Allen went to a conference, and the speaker talked of a time that a friend came into the office to see how he was doing following the sudden death of his wife and getting a call that his son was incarcerated. The friend went on to share that he had been incarcerated 12 times, when a man he never saw, and never met stepped up on the block and preached words that changed that man’s life. After the conference Allen and the speaker went to lunch, and after conversing for a while he told Allen that it sounded to him that he should be in prison ministry.

Shortly after, while visiting and preaching at Fort Drum, several different soldiers and prison guards told him he would be a great prison Chaplain. Allen put in an application but was told it would likely be several months. After serving time in Bosnia as Army Chaplain, Allen was sent to Fort Dix, working with the Chaplains on base and in the prison. Returning home, they had an opening for a Chaplain in the Department of Correctional Services, a position he held for 13 years.

When asked about his children, Allen proudly spoke of his daughter, Julaine, who is an interpreter for the deaf, and his 2 sons—Mark who is a pastor and Enoch, who is adopted and a gift. For new fathers out there, he has 2 books he recommends: ‘Raising Men and Not Boys,’ and ‘The Legacy of Absence.’
Allen knows that behind every successful person, there has to be a support system that is often invisible, and he is grateful to his family. There is no greater privilege than to serve God and country.

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