Thursday, June 6, 2013
Asbury to honor Moses
By SUE WATSON
Edward Moses, pastor of Asbury UMC/Calvin UMC for the past seven years, is leaving Holly Springs to take a position in the Jackson area.
A send-off at Asbury is planned for Saturday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m. Moses moves to Jackson June 18.
Moses said his leadership style includes mentoring those in the community and mentoring pastors to help them become the best they can be.
He served two years in Hazlehurst, seven years in Crystal Springs, eight years as director of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church in the bishop’s office in Jackson, six years as a pastor in the Gulfport/Biloxi area, and the rest in Holly Springs. His next assignment is at Evergreen UMC, east of Jackson. Moses has a home in Crystal Springs, just south of Jackson, so he will be back home.
Moses grew up in Columbia (Marion County). He graduated with a bachelor’s in speech education/theater arts from Jackson State University, earned a Master of Divinity at the Memphis Theological Seminary and was trained as a spiritual director under the Center for Ministry in Jackson.
Moses experienced his first calling to the ministry through a dream at age 5 after the death of his father. He dreamed that after the funeral his father was putting on his clothes to leave for work.
“I knew I had to take care of myself and my mother and the Lord would take care of me,” he said.
The next turning point was at age 13, when Moses was presented a Bible by a lady he mowed grass for.
In a dream that followed, Christ took Moses out on a sandbar and put him in shallow water and reached down into his heart and adjusted it. He said it had to do with the removal of anger he had at losing his dad.
The next dream was while in college. Moses dreamed he was at a revival and Christ took him up to the pulpit and seated him behind the preacher. Christ was introducing him as the speaker.
Moses said he had other dreams and while selling insurance in Bogue Chitto he was still fighting the call to the ministry. He taught high school and coached a short time and sold insurance. Another dream showed Moses that his life was slowing down and getting harder on the course he was taking.
“I gave up when I could see my life was going to change,” he said. “It was easier to accept my assignment.”
He said he feels called to take this next step to the Jackson area.
Moses’ most recent post, before coming to Asbury, was in Biloxi and Gulfport where he served two churches when Hurricane Katrina came ashore in August 2005. His church served as a shelter for people coming in to help with recovery after the storm.
“About 1,500 people came through and helped move debris. We fed about 100 people daily, distributed food and clothing, and sponsored the Mobile Medical Unit from Columbia University and later from Alcorn State University,” he said. “We also helped doctors and nurses find a place to stay for three months while they helped.”
The church’s role was to coordinate food, water and shelter. Volunteers slept on pews and in the pulpit area. When the rebuilding phase began, the churches helped in the midst of the stench of death.
Twenty-one senior citizens’ homes were restored in the Biloxi area with volunteer help through the churches. Volunteers from the Eastern states came in self-contained units and slept in the church. Moses stayed two more years after Katrina before coming to Holly Springs.
He said he developed a story about the Biloxi fisherman statue set by the bridge that was knocked over by the storm, then stolen and cut with a torch to be sold as scrap metal.
The missing statue was reported for several weeks on television and radio and the community got involved in looking for its whereabouts. When the statue was found it was cut in half. It was later welded back together and set back out overlooking the bay.
“Between the storms, the area had been a paradise and the storm separated it,” Moses said. “People cried out and told the scrap iron man, ‘we are looking for the Biloxi fisherman.’ He was sent back to Biloxi in one piece.
“It was similar to the gifts of money and the people who helped the coast be put back together, just as people brought that statue back. The statue is back casting his net out over the water because of people coming to help.”
Asbury Church is historic in that it took the role of education of freed African Americans after the Civil War and supported the construction of Rust College.
While serving at Asbury and the community, Moses said his role has been to help the church grow and become involved in a wider community effort. His ministry included working to get the WIN Job Center in Holly Springs reopened, forming the “Go Praise” singers and contributing to the “Voices of Time” program on 92.7 FM radio locally.
Moses was appointed to the Marshall County Zoning Board and worked with hospice patients at Dr. Williams’ hospital. He chaired the Marshall County Democratic party, and helped hold a ministers’ prayer breakfast and rally for an all-candidates forum at the National Guard Armory.
He worked with the city school district and served as an ex-officio member of the board of trustees at Rust College. He served with other spiritual directors when they met at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Oxford.
He is age 59 and the father for three – Tanya of Monroe, Louisiana, and sons Edward II and Malchizedek, both who have civilian jobs in Kuwait.
Moses said his job as a minister is to help build church leadership and educate.
In Holly Springs, Asbury had all the facilities it needed. But the church needed to expand its ministry. The church had an aging congregation but needed to venture out into community service, he said. Calvin UMC on 178 East was paired with Asbury to help train ministers to become elders.
Moses said he does not seek recognition or accolades for the work he does. He helps with programs and projects until a church is ready to take its flight and then moves on to the next station as he is called.
While working in the bishop’s office, Moses said he served as secretary of global ministries – which handles missionaries and missions projects and serves in disaster response. He has served in that capacity and traveled to Russia, to Africa, and worked with missionaries in Cuba and Mexico and the rest of the world. He enjoys partnering to help with large mission projects. His return to the Jackson area may open doors for service on the state level as well as at Evergreen UMC.
Moses said he enjoyed the six years he has spent in Holly Springs.
The public is invited to attend the send-off in Moses’ honor at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at the Asbury church gym. A program will be provided with three choirs – “Go Praise,” and the choirs of Calvin and Asbury – followed by a reception.
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