Senior Pastor Rev. Todd Harris says, “I have the great pleasure of serving First United Methodist Church as senior pastor, a role I don’t take lightly but with great excitement and a whole lot of fear and trembling.” Rev. Harris is currently serving in his ninth year following his appointment to FUMC Allen in 2006.
Harris and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 25 years. “Her mom introduced us when I was serving FUMC Corsicana in 1988 where I did my internship. Her mother chaired the committee,” Harris said.
Daughter Kathryn and son Philip are the greatest joys of his life. Among many things, Kathryn dances for fun; she’s been dancing since the day she was born and for her life is a stage. She is a student at University of Arkansas. Philip is mostly curious about everything. He wants to know how it works and what it means. The “it” changes daily, and for him, life is a giant laboratory.
Rev. Harris graduated from Texas A&M University in 1985, and he received a Master of Divinity at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 1990. He was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 1992.
Here’s a few more little know facts about Rev. Todd Harris:
Favorite movie: Dead Poets Society & A River Runs Through It
Favorite fiction author: John Grisham
A favorite book: “Missional Renaissance” by Reggie McNeil
Churches of my youth: Cokesbury UMC in Houston and FUMC Marlin.
Favorite thing to do: Fly fishing anywhere I can but especially the South Platte River in 11 Mile Canyon
Besides the Church: I love serving on the board for Allen Community Outreach and as President-elect of Allen Rotary.
His dream for FUMC Allen: “T0 be a church of people who are completely sold out followers of Jesus Christ and whole-heartedly committed to changing the world. At FUMC there are no onlookers. Everyone accepts their calling and lives it out, in my dream for FUMC.”
Favorite Scripture: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:10-12
Rev. Jessica Wright, Associate Pastor, is honored to be appointed to FUMC Allen. She was born in Glendale, California, but spent most of her formative years in central Arkansas. Jessica earned a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Central Arkansas and a master of divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 2011.
Prior to FUMC Allen, Jessica served at Preston Hollow UMC, Krum UMC, First UMC (Denton), Flower Mound UMC, and the Denton Wesley Foundation. She has a special place in her heart for young adults and campus ministry, since she became a Christian through a hamburger (and an amazing community) at a Wesley Foundation. Jessica also experienced unique ministry while serving as a chaplain candidate with the Air Force while in seminary.
Jessica’s husband, Andy, is a saxophonist and graduated with his doctorate in musical arts from the University of North Texas in 2016. In 2017, they celebrated 15 years of marriage. Together they have two sons at home – James, 6 years old, and Ethan, 2 years old – and one son with God – Brennan, who was born into God’s arms in 2013.
Jessica loves to read all kinds of fiction, from Jane Austen to Mo Willems to Diana Gabaldon, as well as inspiring writers like Brene Brown and Nadia Bolz-Weber. Writing is one of Jessica’s joys and she shares her thoughts on her messy grace blog. She has been published by Fidelia’s Sisters, the online publication of Young Clergy Women International, and is currently co-authoring a devotional foundations book for young parents.
Rev. Rusty King, Music Ministry, graduated from high school in Jackson, Mississippi. He then went on to major in sacred music at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, and graduated in 1979. He continued his education at SMU/Perkins where he took foundation courses in theology and courses in music. He was consecrated Diaconal Minister in 1999, and in 2002, he was ordained Deacon.
He is married to Stephanie, and they were blessed with two daughters, Ann Michele and Emily. Ann Michele battled cancer for more than eight years and went to be with her blessed Savior in May 2012 at the age of 25.
Rev. King has been very blessed to have served at Spring Valley UMC for 14 years. It has been a time filled with meaning and joy as he ministered with, for, and to the people. The work was extremely fulfilling and God blessed the ministry.Prior to Spring Valley, he served in music ministry at FUMC in Texarkana, Arkansas, for 9½ years. He was privileged to try many different types of music ministry and see them come to fruition with God’s help and the supportive congregation there. In both places, he expanded the number of individuals participating while expanding the scope and variety of musical expressions of the community for both worship and beyond the walls of the sanctuary.
He has enjoyed directing children’s, youth and adult singing choirs; children’s, youth and adult handbell choirs; adult orchestra; youth and adult praise bands; children’s, youth and adults sacred musicals; intergenerational summer musicals; and taking youth and adult choir tours all over the United States and literally around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Hawaii.
Rusty enjoys playing racquetball. He plays Frisbee golf and is a woodworker.Rusty is so excited about being a partner in music ministry with you here at FUMC Allen. He looks forward to helping this program achieve its very promising potential as together we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Rev. Maxie Moore, Welcoming Ministries and Evangelism, was born and raised in Magee, Mississippi. She received her Bachelor of Art in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Mississippi University for Women. She obtained her Masters of Health and Physical Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and required her Mid-Management Certification from Texas Women’s University.
For 30 years, Rev. Moore taught physical education and coached on the junior high level. Upon retirement, God opened the door for full-time ministry at FUMC Allen as Director of Adult Education and Family Fellowship. She completed the requirements for a local pastor, served as the pastor of Cockrell Hill UMC, before returning to FUMC Allen as Director of Recreational Ministries. In June 2013, she became the leader for Welcoming Ministries and Evangelism at FUMC.
Maxie and her husband, George, have two daughters and four grandchildren. Her favorite pastime is playing golf and most other games. She has a passion for teaching and, especially, for leading Disciple Bible Study.
Maxie begins each day with the Psalm 118:24; “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it”.
Rev. Abe Smith, Senior Pastor of Living Life Church, is originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas, and has been serving in ministry since 1993. After completing a bachelor of science in education at Baylor University, Abe returned to Hot Springs and worked as the director of youth ministries at First United Methodist Church. Before returning to Hot Springs, Abe was married to Amy.
Amy, who is also a graduate of Baylor University and Ouachita Baptist University, owns her own Kumon Math and Reading Center in West McKinney. They met as leaders in Young Life and continue to work as a team in their day-to-day lives. The Smiths have three daughters, Abigail, Anna Beth, and Addison, and one son, Abram.
In 2002, Abe moved to Texas to continue in ministry while attending seminary at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University; in May 2006, he received his Master of Divinity and was ordained as an elder in May 2009. During this time, he served at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, as the Minister to Youth and Contemporary Worship.
In 2011, Abe joined the team at FUMC Allen, as the new campus minister. The new church, LivingLife, is underway with a growing launch team, new small groups forming, and community events taking place. LivingLife began holding worship services in the fall of 2012. Abe is thrilled to be a part of the city of Allen and is currently a chaplain for the Allen Police Department, a member of Leadership Allen, speaks at schools and various organizations, consults with churches and non-profits, and enjoys getting to know people in the community.
If you would like to know more about the new church, Living Life, or ways to get involved be sure to contact Abe. He would be happy to grab a bite to eat or just hang out.