Story compiled by Speakin’ Out News

The late Pastor Emeritus, The Reverend Dr. Julius Richard Scruggs

(NEWS RELEASE) – – Huntsville, AL-May16,2024-It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved Pastor Emeritus, The Reverend Dr. Julius Richard Scruggs, who died peacefully at home on the morning of Wednesday, May 8, 2024. Pastor Emeritus Scruggs was a community leader and faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and he has made known the love of God to us. As we process the shock of his unexpected transition, our hearts are united in grief and loss, even as we draw strength from the faith we share together. Let us remember his wife, Josephine Scruggs in prayer, along with his children, grandchildren, and the entire Scruggs family.

With the approval of the Scruggs Family, we extend this announcement to the congregation and the wider community, inviting all to join us in honoring his remarkable life and ministry. Observances for Pastor Emeritus Scruggs will take place as follows:

The family will receive condolences in the last hour.

2. **Lying in Repose at Oakwood University Church**

Date: Friday, May 17, 2024

Time: Starting at 10:00 AM

Location: Oakwood University Church, 5500 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35896


3509 Blue Spring Road, NW

Huntsville, AL 35810 (256) 852-43418 (Phone) (256) 852-5975 (Fax) www.fmbc.org

3. **Homegoing Celebration**

Date: Friday, May 17, 2024

Time: Starting at 12:00 PM

Location: Oakwood University Church, 5500 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35896

Officiating: The Reverend Dr. Don Darius Butler

Eulogist: Reverend Dr. Walter Malone as eulogist.

Interment will be in Seay Crutcher Cemetery. Reverend Dr. Scruggs will lie in repose two hours prior to funeral time.

Pastor Emeritus Scruggs was not only a shepherd to our congregation but a pillar of strength, wisdom, and compassion. His legacy of faith, service, and love will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.

Our chapel will remain open to all member-families and friends through next Thursday, providing a space for gathering, reflection, and prayer.

For further inquiries or information, please contact the First Missionary Baptist Church office at 256-852- 4318.

In this time of mourning, let us come together as a community to celebrate the extraordinary life of Pastor Emeritus Julius R. Scruggs and to find solace in the en- during hope of the resurrection.

For future events and in- formation, follow First Missionary Baptist Church on their website at fmbc.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ FirstMissionaryBCH and on Instagram at @fmbchsv.


Reverend Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, Pastor Emeritus of First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL, dedicated over 50 years to preaching, teaching, and leading. Serving as the church’s pastor from 1977 until his retirement in 2018, Dr. Scruggs profoundly impacted his congregation and community.

In 1999, Dr. Scruggs was elected Vice President-at- Large of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. As part of the leadership team, he brought vision, integrity, structure, and accountability to the largest Black church organization in the nation. His leadership was further recognized when he was elected as the 17th President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., in 2009.

Early Life and Education

Born in Elkton, TN, Julius was the son of Reverend and Mrs. Earl Scruggs, Sr., and grew up in Toney, AL. He graduated from Council Training High School in Huntsville, AL, and earned his B.A. degree from American Baptist College in Nashville, TN. He continued his theological education at Vanderbilt University School of Divinity, where he obtained both his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degrees. In recognition of his contributions, Alabama A&M University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2011.

Ministry and Career

Dr. Scruggs began his pastoral journey at Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Harvest, AL, serving from 1960 to 1965. He then pastored Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Nashville, TN (1965-1972), and Antioch Baptist Church in East Chicago, IN (1972-1977), before beginning his long tenure at First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL.

Under his leadership at First Missionary Baptist Church, the congregation grew by over 5,200 members. Dr. Scruggs initiated various ministries, including evangelism teams, jail ministry teams, scholarship funds, and health fitness programs. He enhanced the church’s Christian Education ministry with weekly Bible studies for all ages and established a licensed Child Development Center and Academy for children from ages 2 through fifth grade.

The church expanded its property to a twelve-acre lot and constructed multiple phases, including the Sanctuary, Educational Complex, Family Life Center, and Administration/ Educational Wing. In 2009, Dr. Scruggs led the formation of the FMBC Foundation, supported by $2 million in donations, to further mission and education initiatives. His tenure also saw the church contribute significantly to Home and Foreign Missions, Habitat for Humanity, Selma University, and American Baptist College.

Published Works

Dr. Scruggs authored several influential works, including “Meditations on the Church,” “Baptist Preachers with Social Consciousness: A Comparative Study on Martin L. King, Jr. and Harry Fosdick,” “God is Faithful,” and “How to Study and Teach the Bible,” the latter of which sold over 20,000 copies.

Religious and Civic Involvement

Dr. Scruggs was deeply involved in various religious and civic organizations. He served on the Board of Trustees of American Baptist College, was a former member of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP, and held leadership roles in the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention and the Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship. He also contributed to the Huntsville Human Relations Commission and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Kappa Boule’.

In the 1960s, while attending American Baptist College, Dr. Scruggs was active in the civil rights movement and nearly lost his left eye during the Nashville sit-ins. In 2012, he delivered the main speech at the 50th Anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, AL.

Recognition and Honors

Dr. Scruggs received numerous accolades throughout his career, including recognition in “Who’s Who in Religion,” the Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and listings among the “25 Most Influential Black Christian Male Newsmakers” and “70 Most Influential Black History Makers.” In 2018, First Missionary Baptist Church honored him by naming their Child Development Center Academy after him. President Obama also acknowledged Dr. Scruggs’ contributions during his National Prayer Breakfast group and requested him to deliver the prayer for the Easter Prayer Breakfast.

Personal Life

Dr. Scruggs is survived by his beloved wife, Josephine Stewart Tipton, their daughter, Jennifer J. Scruggs, and their son, Morris E. Tipton, II. They have three cherished grandchildren: Morris E. Tipton, III, Morgan T. Tipton, and Elizabeth F. Scruggs.

Dr. Scruggs’ legacy is defined by his unwavering commitment to faith, education, and community service. His life was a testament to servant leadership and personal integrity, and he will be remembered as a tender shepherd who profoundly impacted all who knew him.