Arthelene Rippy sits in her office at the Christian Television Network in Largo. She has worked for the network for more than 37 years.
LARGO – You would never guess that Arthelene Rippy, the host of the Christian Television Network’s show “Homekeepers,” is 80 years old.
In fact, she is still working 10-hour days and tapes several shows a week. Rippy has worked for CTN for more than 37 years and has hosted more than 3,000 shows.
“I actually started at the network two years before it went on the air to help fundraise for the station,” said Rippy.
At the time, she was a gospel-recording artist and performed with a group called Discovery Singers.
CTN went on the air in 1979 and has its headquarters in Largo. Today, they have 17 affiliate stations throughout the United States, reaching 65 million homes.
CTN’s founder, Bob D’Andrea, will tell you Rippy’s viewers love her.
“She brings a lot to CTN. She’s just been faithful,” he said. “She has many contacts around the world. I think she is a wonderful person. She’s energetic and sincere about what she does.”
Rippy grew up in the Christian faith. She has a long line of pastors in her family dating back to 1895, when her grandfather was a circuit-writing pastor in northern Missouri. Her dad was a pastor, and she married Don Rippy, a pastor. Her son is a pastor, and her grandson will soon be a pastor.
Rippy has been in the Tampa Bay area since 1967. She moved here with her husband, who was called to pastor at the First Assembly of God Church in St. Petersburg, now known as the Suncoast Cathedral. The Rippys also founded St. Petersburg Christian School.
When Rippy first started out at CTN, she hosted a show called “Solo Act,” which was for singles. The show came about after tragic events in her life, including divorce from Don Rippy. Don took his own life soon after, which left Arthelene to raise her two children alone.
It was her faith that kept her going, she said. She hosted “Solo Act” for 16 years.
In 1995, she started hosting her current show, “Homekeepers,” a program dedicated to women who fill one of today’s most vital and challenging roles in society.
Rippy said you often have to wear many hats in Christian television. She is not only the host, but also the producer of the show.
“I read a lot especially when there are several authors in a row. I want to be very familiar with the books. This is another blessing though – forcing me to read material I would not know exists. It’s a very educational job,” said Rippy.
Her favorite people to interview are authors. She also loves people who have stories of overcoming difficult circumstances.
However, Rippy said about her greatest accomplishment is her children, Michael and Meredith. Both are grown and married with children and grandchildren. Her son is a pastor at Evangelical Temple in Montgomery, Alabama, and her daughter is a professional harpist in Tampa.
Rippy is the proud grandma of five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. This past Thanksgiving, the family all came together to help Rippy celebrate her 80th birthday.
When Rippy is not interviewing people on her show, you’ll find her spending time with her family or exercising. She said she goes to church on Saturday and on Sunday, she has a true Sabbath. “Sunday is a quiet day for me. When I was a preacher’s wife, I would be going all day on Sunday with several services,” she explained
Rippy also is pretty active on the Internet with email and on social media. She credits her grandkids for teaching her.
She has her own Facebook page for “Homekeepers,” which she updates regularly.
“Best reason for Facebook is to bring prayer warriors together,” she said.
She also likes to keep up with her family through email, including a cousin who’s a missionary in Cambodia.
Rippy said she loves what she does and doesn’t see retiring any time soon.
“I don’t see retirement in the Bible anywhere. Take one day at a time and see what happens,” she said. “I am very blessed at what I do. I meet such interesting people.”