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This story was originally published in the Summer 2009 edition of Methodist Money and Ministry; we are revisiting it ten years later, as we celebrate Black History Month and the hope United Methodist churches bring to their communities. “In the final analysis, our decision to invest had to be consistent with our cultural values and our core belief – our spirituality,” explained Dr. Robert McGee, senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Houston, in describing the criteria important to him and his wife Lillian when opening an Individual Fund at the Texas Methodist Foundation.
Investing in Purpose - An Interview with Bishop Joe A. Wilson Interviewer: Tell us about your call to ministry. Bishop Wilson: I heard the call to ministry when I was 17 years old, participating in a youth group (MYF) at First Methodist Church in Orange, Texas. That was before we were The United Methodist Church. The year was 1954, and I was greatly inspired by two wonderful youth counselors, Sandy and Virginia Sanford. I asked for baptism at a Sunday evening service, led by our pastor, Rev. Herman Morgan. After that moment, Rev. Morgan was relentless, inviting me to give the benediction or prayer in the morning services, always calling on me by surprise. As a 17 year old, every invitation caused fear and trembling, but it solidified my calling and set me on a path to Southwestern University and Perkins School of Theology for the fulfillment of that calling. I never doubted nor swayed from my commitment to ministry in the local church.
In the old west, populations of desolate towns could explode as a result of discovering gold, silver, or even oil. Oftentimes, those thriving boomtowns would shrink when fortunes were not made, or the supply of sought-after minerals declined. While these stories harken images of the Gold Rush, boomtowns still exist all around us. For instance, in the next ten to fifteen years, Troy, TX is projected to triple in size, moving from less than 2,000 people to over 6,000, and Troy UMC is gearing up for the boom.
In 2010, the clergy and lay leadership at St. Stephen United Methodist Church in Amarillo recognized that they needed a new Children’s Center to truly serve the needs of their community. They understood that if they wanted to keep their congregation thriving, it was important to provide the community’s young families with the programs and facilities that a strong local church could provide.
Twenty years ago, Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church in Katy was a worship community in search of a place to gather. Today, Grace Fellowship UMC sits on a 30- acre campus, with a worship center, a children’s center, a youth ministry building and an administrative and meeting facility. And TMF has been there every step of the way.
TMF Loan Provides Plenty of Space for Students to Share a Prayer – And Donuts – Before School.
Thanks to a loan from TMF, University United Methodist Church in Austin was able to expand and update the facilities they use to feed more than 200 homeless individuals and families every week.
Robert Corey has a special connection to the stately sanctuary at First United Methodist Church in Round Rock. He helped build it. Not by shoveling sand or hammering nails, but by investing in the Individual Fund through the Texas Methodist Foundation.