It is hard to put into words how exciting it is to serve at the First United Methodist Church of Hurst. I began attending FUMC Hurst a few years ago. At that time, I was working as a baggage agent at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Over time, steps were taken to add me on to the church’s clergy staff as non-appointed pastor. My specific ministry focus is to reach out to African immigrants who are emigrating to live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The church’s worship attendance averages approximately 1,100 people. My ministry resulted in gaining approximately 40 Africans in the past year and half with most of them becoming church members. We have been baptizing babies, reuniting families, and developing a Computer Literacy program to help people access employment. More importantly, Rev. Philip Rhodes, our senior pastor, has created a Pentecost Journey of inclusion where all people (Americans and Africans) unite in worship and build relationships together. When asked why people come here, I tell them that Jesus Christ offers people hope and Africans are finding hope here in a new place so different than their native land.
I am excited to say the story does not end here as we are continuing in this Pentecost vision. We are engaging with the African community through our Mobile Food Pantry, the Adopt-A-School program, Vacation Bible School, Thanksgiving Baskets, and our annual Advent and Christmas programs. I believe that welcoming these brothers and sisters in Christ from African into our church is not only an act of mission; it is an opportunity to receive God’s grace.