J.Alexander Ward, Jr., he prefers to be called “Al,” was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina and is the son of the late James A. and Helen T. Ward. Al graduated from Northern High School (1970), High Point University (AB, 1974), The Divinity School of Duke University (MDiv, 1977), and Columbia Theological Seminary (DMin, 1998). He has also completed clinical pastoral education at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC (1990-91) and the Royce and Jane Reynolds Program in Church Leadership through Duke University Divinity School (2004).
Al was licensed to preach in 1970 and ordained an Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1978. He is the third generation on his father’s side to be in ordained ministry in the Western North Carolina Conference.
He has served student appointments at Main Street United Methodist Church (Kernersville, NC), Grace United Methodist Church (Winston-Salem, NC), and Ellis Chapel United Methodist Church (Bahama, NC). After completing seminary, he served as pastor of Cramer Memorial United Methodist Church (Cramerton, NC), Black Mountain United Methodist Church (Black Mountain, NC), Christ United Methodist Church (Gastonia, NC), Mouzon United Methodist Church (Charlotte, NC), Groce United Methodist Church (Asheville, NC), and Main Street United Methodist Church (Kernersville, NC). From 2005 through 2011, Al was the District Superintendent of the Waynesville District. He retired as Senior Pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in High Point, NC on June 30, 2017. He is currently Clergy in Residence at High Point University (High Point, NC)
Al is a member of the Board of Trustees of High Point University (High Point, NC) the Chair of the Board of Directors of Hinton Rural Life Center (Hayesville, NC).
Al has been married to Miriam (nee Helderman) for 44 years. Miriam and Al have two grown daughters, Erin Ward of Los Angeles, CA; and Meredith Vaughn of Kernersville, NC. They have three granddaughters, Kirthi Rao of Los Angeles, CA; Savannah Vaughn and Vivian Vaughn of Kernersville, NC. He is an avid runner and enjoys reading biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction.