Sunday August 19th I paid an episcopal visit to St. Andrew Lutheran in Hurst, TX. Hurst is located in the “mid-cities” of the metroplex and was established in the late 1950s in response to the fast growth occurring in the aeronautics and defense industries in the area (Bell Helicopter has a large facility there).
It was great to worship with the people of St. Andrew. They have a wonderful choir and obviously take great pride in their worship and music life. Pastor Willard McIver and his wife Beverly warmly welcomed me and we had a lovely morning of worship, fellowship, and conversation. Pastor McIver made sure that the meal time was set up so that I could interact with many of the members and, as he encouraged, “be myself.”
A fun surprise came at the end of the meal (wonderful Texan BBQ) when a special cake was brought out. Unbeknownst to me the folks at St. Andrew had called my spouse and inquired as to my favorite type of cake. She of course knew that in summer the answer would be Lemon (when it is so hot out a lighter cake with a bit of citrus is almost refreshing). A member of St. Andrew who is a master cake baker and decorator then prepared such a cake in my honor including purple “episcopal” icing. It was delicious and they made sure that I had plenty to take home and share with my kids, who thought it was INCREDIBLE.
St. Andrew, like so many congregations in the Metroplex, faces the opportunity and challenge of rapidly changing demographics in their area. The folks for whom the community was built have aged and their children have purchased home often in new developments and don’t live near Hurst any longer. As such a major challenge is communicating to new neighbors they are invited to the congregation. One way they are inviting folks is by doing major work on their playground which is open to the public. In this way they are making themselves available to the community and providing a resource.
I am grateful that their leadership recognizes these changes are happening and desires to engage my office in conversation about how we best can do mission there today. It was a joy to be with the folks of St. Andrew and I look forward to seeing how they can connect with their community and be with #NTNL #InMissionTogether.