Pastor Paul Ruffin Ph.D.

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Dr Paul & Vetrea Ruffin (2010)
Dr Paul & Vetrea Ruffin (2010)

Dr. Ruffin overcame many difficulties to achieve great accomplishments.  Ruffin hails from Gilbertown, a sleepy south Alabama town near the Mississippi border.  He is the oldest of four children born to Bishop Booker T. and the late Catherine Ruffin.  He gave his life to the Lord at the age of seven and experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit at 14 years of age.

Showing early promise in solving math problems throughout elementary school, his parents encouraged education in the household.  He entered Southern Choctaw High School (SCHS) as a member of the first freshman class to integrate SCHS in 1969.  College preparatory was subpar at SCHS, as General Math and Algebra I were the only advanced math courses offered.  As a lad, he lobbied high school administrators to teach Geometry; they in turn contracted that if he would find ten willing students that were qualified, they would teach Geometry.  He succeeded. Afterwards he tried the same for Trigonometry, but that attempt failed.  He later self taught himself Trigonometry from a text book.  Although young Ruffin scored an A+ on every Physics test, he was told by his high school Physics teacher that he could not make it in Physics, because the competition beyond Choctaw County would overwhelm him.  Still, his interest of how the physical world around him worked continued to supply a driving inquisitiveness that enlarged continually after learning more.

In 1977, Ruffin received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.  “The classes were small” Ruffin said and Dr. M.C. George, Chairman of the Physics Department, required everyone enrolled within the discipline to be able to solve every problem in their Freshman Physics text.  This gave Ruffin good experience, despite being faced with earlier educational barriers.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) accepted Ruffin into their Master’s Degree program on a probationary basis, because he scored less than 1000 on the GRE.  A Professor said to Ruffin, ‘I hope that you are good with your hands because you will never make it in Physics,’ after scoring a C in his first class while on academic probation.  This did not deter Ruffin from his goal.  He was given a reprieve and later went on to post scores beyond the programs best and brightest students, ultimately earning a Master of Science Degree at UAH (Graduated with High Honors), becoming the first African American to receive an advanced degree in Physics from any post secondary school in Alabama.  In 1986, Ruffin became a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics when he earned his Ph.D. from UAH.

While delving into the mysteries that unlocked the interactions of time, space and matter, Ruffin simultaneously served as a deacon and chairman of the trustee board at Beirne Avenue COGIC in Huntsville, AL for twenty three years under the leadership of the late Superintendent Dave Draper, Sr.

While working for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, Ruffin was promoted to Senior Research Scientist (ST), the highest rank for a research scientist in the Army civilian workforce, becoming the first African American to ever attain such status in the Army.  That same year in 2003, he became an ordained Elder at Draper Memorial COGIC (formerly Beirne Avenue COGIC and renamed in 1998).  It now houses the Library dedicated in his honor and named the Dr. Paul Ruffin Library.

In 2005, he was appointed Pastor of Forge Temple COGIC in Birmingham Alabama. As a Pastor, he has been devoted to the total healing for the whole person: body, soul, and spirit. Ruffin believes in providing spiritual leadership and exercising his gift of teaching while expounding upon spiritual principals in the Bible. Several people have been filled with the Holy Ghost, lives have been turned around and former neighboring houses of ill repute have been demolished in preparation for a 21st Century Sanctuary.

President Barack Obama bestowed upon our own Dr. Paul Ruffin, “The Rank of Meritorious Senior Professional for sustained superior accomplishment in the conduct of programs of the United States Government and noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in public service 2010.” Ruffin and other meritorious award recipients from across the nation were honored at the 2010 Presidential Rank Award Ceremony, hosted by the Secretary of the Army, on June 29, 2011 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ruffin joins one percent of the government’s unrivaled leaders, scientists, and other professionals that are proven innovators in public service. Of the U.S. Government’s 1.8 million civilian employees, only 6,800 have become career Senior Executives. Of that elite pool, fewer than 50 are selected to be Distinguished Executives annually. Army employees who receive the Presidential Rank Award save billions of dollars for our nation with efficiencies and advanced technologies.

Dr. Ruffin revealed a noninvasive technique for treating cancer patients. Ruffin’s research in Fiber Optics, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and Nanotechnology has resulted in seven patent awards. He is the co-editor of a textbook Fiber Optics Sensors: Second Edition. His latest patent is titled “Nano Smart Needle for Precision Sensing and Treatment that Promotes Healing in Living Tissue.” Through technology developed by Dr. Ruffin, the military has acquired capabilities of launching and controlling missiles with precise accuracy.

In 2009, Bishop O. L. Meadows, Prelate of Alabama First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, appointed Dr. Ruffin Jurisdictional Superintendent of the Sunday School Department. He administrates a well coordinated program, holds Workers Conferences as the A.I.M. (Auxiliaries in Ministry) Sunday School Department President and represents Bishop Meadows in Sunday School at the national level.  He serves as the Director of “Science in the Bible” in the Sunday School University under International Sunday School President, Bishop Alton Gatlin.

Ruffin is married to National Gospel Recording Artist Vetrea Slack Ruffin.  They have two daughters, Lacretia (Kellen) Conaway and Angelica Ruffin and two grandchildren, Jared and Victoria.

article appeared in COGIC’s Inspirations Today: COGIC Salutes (page 17)

Mother Bessie Turner

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Northern Alabama COGIC PIONEER Mother Bessie Turner is the mother of four children, 7 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and 2 great, great-grandchildren.  Mother Turner is the oldest surviving member of the New Market COGIC and has been the Sunday School Secretary for over fifty-five years.  COGIC Director of Biblical Sciences of the International Sunday School Department and Alabama 1st Jurisdictional, Sunday School President, Dr. Paul Ruffin who has known Mother Turner for over 39 years said, “She records minutes with great accuracy.”  It is remarkable that she’s been doing so for over 5 decades and still serves faithfully in that same capacity at the Draper Memorial COGIC in Huntsville AL.  

     According to Mother Turner encouraging others is her gift, when anyone does something in church whether it’s singing, preaching, dancing, etc.  She says, she goes to the person and compliments them, “afterward, if I don’t see them” she says, “it bothers me in my spirit and I wait until the next time I see them to compliment them.”  Mother Turner always has a kind word and a hug, children and preachers (who also receives their healthy share of amens from her). 

     Mother Turner mentioned that David encouraged himself even when the people around him were discouraged and others were against him.  Mother Turner said “that lets me know, everybody is not going to be with you, but it shouldn’t stop you.”  A pillar in the community she believes in living right, helping others and guiding youth; even when simply asking young men saying, “pull up your pants sweetie,” she grins, “they’ll let them slide back down but I’ll ask just the same.”  Dr. Ruffin said, “She is always happy and always smiling, I have never seen her upset or heard her to said anything negative, she’s a true Saint of God who the loves the  Sunday School Department.”

 Reginald Boswell is a member of True Light Church of God in Christ COGIC, where Fourth Administrative Assistant of Alabama First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Dr. Terrell Harris Jr. is Pastor   (This Article appears in the July Issue of The Whole Truth Magazine)


Mother Bessie Turner—a devoted mother and grandmother of 4 children, 7 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren.  She is a faithful member of Draper Memorial Church of God in Christ (COGIC)—formerly New Market COGIC and Beirne Avenue COGIC, and was recently honored during an appreciation service (March 14, 2010).  This appreciation was in recognition for her devotion and support to the Sunday School Department.  She has been a member of this church for over 53 years, serving under the leadership of the late Pastor Dave Draper, Sr., and presently Pastor Dave Draper, Jr.  She has been the secretary for the Sunday school department for 50 years.  During this time Mother Turner has performed her secretarial duties, with much gratification.  When necessary, she is ready and willing to open up the Sunday school for lesson study, elaborate on the lesson, record minutes, etc. She understands her role and has a love for the work she has devoted her time to.  Mother Turner has also given much of her time to other auxiliaries within the church (Adult Choir and Mothers Board, and Assistant Sunday School Superintendent).  She is a woman of faith and an encourager of God’s word.  She has also helped many individuals within the community.  Mother Turner understands the Lord is keeping a record of her works, as well as her faith—and one, day He will reward her with an appreciation service in her heavenly home.  The prayers and acknowledgements of the Draper Memorial Sunday School Department are for the continued success of Mother Turner in all of her endeavors.  (Content:  Evangelist Sonja Leslie, Draper Memorial COGIC, Huntsville)

POSITIONED BY GOD (prayer series)

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Friend-of-GodI serve God in spirit, soul and body with praise, in worship and with my time and substance.   I render all to Christ and abide obediently under the leadership of our local assembly.  My prayer for my Pastor is that, God give him strength to lead his flock in adverse times and seasons of lack into more prosperous times and away from our enemy.  Satan has been bound concerning the souls that belong to Christ and the Spirit of Increase is released into our lives.  Saints are given true promotion, but along with that came persecution.

Be released – Be released – Be released.   Satan the blood of Jesus against you repay exponentially of that which you destroyed.  With praise in my spirit, I pray continually for the next thing to break like the wind that rushed in at Pentecost or like the bursting forth of great waters causing breakthroughs deliverance is eminent.  I won’t complain but will thank God for dispatching His angels of war, to bring everything that enemy to my feet and all he has taken: until relationships, credit, rank, position, seed, fruit, provision, resources, stamina and strength are restored.    Restoration is now in season in the name of Jesus.  It was all a setting up for my season of restoration.  So as God judges the quick and the dead let us render our selves fellow laborers to one another with this one thing in mind God is going to save his people.  “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity . . . trust in the Lord, and do good . . . . And verily thou shall be fed,” you can make it.