Redevelopment on the horizon for Theressa Hoover Memorial UMC

Hoover BannerAs 2014 draws to a close, a United Methodist church in the heart of Little Rock’s 12th Street corridor will celebrate a milestone and an exciting new opportunity.

Theressa Hoover Memorial United Methodist Church on Dec. 14 will celebrate 34 years of ministry and serving the people in the Midtown area of Little Rock. The Rev. Candace Lewis, associate general secretary, New Church Starts/Path One, General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn., will be the guest preacher for the church’s 11 a.m. anniversary worship service, “Love with Us.”

On Dec. 21, the church will celebrate a recent name change and the signing of a covenant agreement with the Central District and the Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The covenant agreement will enhance the church’s ability to move forward on the annual conference’s trajectory to create vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world.

Resident Bishop Gary E. Mueller will bring the message, “What Child is This?” during the 11 a.m. Dec. 21 worship service.

Founded in 1980, the church was originally named Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church (Hoover Church) in honor of Theressa Hoover, an Arkansas native and human rights advocate whose influence was felt across the denomination and extended world-wide for nearly 50 years. At one time, Hoover Church was the only United Methodist Church named for a living African-American woman. Following Hoover’s death on Dec. 21, 2013, the church elected to change its name to Theressa Hoover Memorial United Methodist Church.

Working conjointly with Bishop Gary E. Mueller; executive director of mission and ministry the Rev. Mackey Yokem; assistant director of mission and ministry for mission field engagement the Rev. Maxine Allen; and Central District superintendent the Rev. Richard Lancaster, a special redevelopment committee from Theressa Hoover Memorial UMC, led by senior pastor Bishop Felton E. May and Darryl Swinton, developed a five-year plan with specific ministry goals and benchmarks. Former Central District superintendent the Rev. Dede Roberts, who now serves as the director of the Center for Clergy and Laity Excellence in Leadership, helped to lay the groundwork for the plan.

In addition to developing goals and benchmarks, the committee created a budget for each year of the plan, which was reviewed by the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration. The plan and budget were unanimously approved by members of the extended cabinet on Nov. 17, 2014.

Bishop May is excited for the future of Hoover Church.

“I am committed to fulfilling the vision of Theressa Hoover Memorial United Methodist Church,” May said, “to provide an accepting, healing and caring ministry that equips individuals to live a spiritually prosperous life. Further, we seek to empower individuals to use their God given talents for the good of family, church and community.”

Mueller is also pleased with the agreement for a number of reasons.

“Theressa Hoover Memorial UMC has a history of reaching their mission field,” Mueller said. “This new plan will help provide greater engagement with the neighborhood, and we pray it provides a model for a new way of doing ministry—not just for churches in predominately African-American contexts, but for churches throughout the Conference.”

The church agrees that these steps will help Theressa Hoover Memorial United Methodist Church to W.E.L.Come all to Worship, Empower and Love with us.