By Lisa Voyles
HOUSTON – The congregation at Houston First United Methodist Church welcomed a new pastor in the pulpit Sunday morning, although he didn’t have far to travel to get here.
Bro. Rex Wilburn will replace Bro. Larry Patrick at Houston FUMC due to Patrick’s retirement for health reasons and Wilburn moved all the way from Bruce to take the pulpit.
Wilburn served at First United Methodist Church in Bruce for the past 13 years, but orginally came from slightly further west.
A native of Moscow, Tenn., Wilburn graduated Rossville Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Marketing from Memphis State University in 1984. He worked for the Department of Human Services in administration and as a field representative for a sexually transmitted disease and tuberclulosis disease clinic, which brought him in contact with people from all walks of life and earned him a certification as an x-ray technician. He also learned valuable lessons in humanity.
“This kicker was that was the time HIV was just coming out,” Wilburn said. “Back then, when you had someone with HIV there was nothing you could do. You had to tell them they had HIV and it was basically a death sentence.”
A lifelong Methodist, Wilburn received the call to ministry during annual conference in 1987 and, “I took a wandering journey through the call.”
He returned to school and graduated magna cum laude from Memphis Theological Seminary and served as a lay pastor at Ashland UMC. After being licensed in 1992 he served at Ashland and Pope and Salem United Methodist Church in Etta in Union County. He began his service at Bruce UMC in 2001 and moved to Houston just two weeks ago.
He and wife, Pam, have been married 28 years and are parents of two grown children, Robin who lives and works in Bruce, and Matthew who is a student at Northwest Community College. Pam is operations coordinator of Shoemaker Hall in the Biology department at the University of Mississippi.
Wilburn said he will miss Bruce and the friendships he and his family made there, but is looking forward to life in Houston.
“From what I can see, Houston has a lot of good stuff,” Wilburn said. “It’s a lot like Bruce, only larger and the economy is better. It’s just a good, hardworking community with lots of good folks.”
Wilburn is still meeting people and getting to know the community but expects his stay in Houston to be positive.
“I’ve found if you don’t enjoy yourself, life is way too hard,” Wilburn said. “There’s a time to buckle down, but you’ve got to have fun.”
Wilburn joins FUMC as new pastor
By Lisa Voyles
About Lisa Voyles
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