25 years of service
Leader. Mentor. Hard worker. Supportive. A friend.
These were just a few of the words used to describe Jack Aiken at a celebration honoring his 25 years as senior pastor of King’s Way Ministry Center in Eagle River on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“He’s a man after God’s own heart,” said former church secretary Jeanne Leonard. “It really was an honor to work for him.”
The church also recognized Aiken’s wife, Ann, for her decades of service.
“They are such wonderful mentors and people of integrity,” said former church bookkeeper Carol Watkins.
Over her 14 years working with Aiken, Watkins said they became family.
“He’s like a brother to me,” she said.
Watkins praised Aiken for creating Eagle River Christian School 24 years ago and the recent addition of a gym at King’s Way.
“He has a lot of vision,” she said. “He always has.”
After spending a year in King Salmon, Aiken’s duties with the U.S. Air Force brought him back to Alaska in 1982. That year, he joined King’s Way.
In the summer of 1987, Aiken retired from the Air Force and took over as head pastor in September.
Originally from South Carolina, Aiken said he and his wife didn’t plan on living in Alaska too long.
“We’re on the 31st year of our three-year tour,” he quipped.
Aiken said the congregation’s size of about 250 has remained relatively level over the years.
But, Chugiak-Eagle River looks much different, said Aiken, who remembers when the town had just two stoplights.
“We have twice as many churches than we used to have,” he said. “It’s changed a lot since we’ve been here.”
The most rewarding part of his job is “just getting to know people,” Aiken said, and “seeing people mature in their Christian faith.”
Aiken — who attended college at Clemson University and earned a master’s degree from Virginia Tech — is also involved with the Chugiak-Eagle River Christian Ministerial Alliance.
Though he recently turned 70 years old, Aiken said he has no intention of resigning as senior pastor of King’s Way Ministry Center.
“I have no plans to retire immediately,” he said. “I can’t think of anything I want to do more than what I’m doing right now.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.