Reverend Jessica Moffatt was only 10 when she walked into First United Methodist Church for the very first time. She sat in the back row with her mother, who wanted to attend a revival meeting.
"So here I am, many decades later, helping to lead the same kind of spirited revival into the future," said Rev. Moffatt.
She is returning to Tulsa to serve as senior pastor at one of downtown Tulsa's largest churches. It means coming home.
"I went to Patrick Henry Elementary School, Edison high school, and I graduated from the University of Tulsa," she said. "So, I am a Tulsa girl."
First United Methodist church is home, too. It is where she interned during seminary then served 12 years here as associate pastor before leading churches in Bixby and now Ardmore.
"So that means that I have been in that pulpit many, many times," Rev. Moffatt added. "It feels like home."
Calling herself a "third generation clergywoman" in a faith that began ordaining women fifty years ago, Rev. Moffatt believes the women who were pioneers had a rather rough time as they dealt with the shift in culture.
She calls her older sister the "second generation" who found it a little rougher to navigate the obstacles of being a female leader. By the time Moffatt reached the pulpit, she said she has encountered little to no resistance.
Walking down the familiar hallways, she finds familiar faces, like current Senior Pastor Dr. Wade Paschal.
After decades in charge, he's looking forward to retirement and writing his final sermons before passing on the leadership to a woman for the first time in the church's 130 year history. It just so happens, he has known Jessica Moffatt since the 1980's.
"Someone you deeply admire as a person, a Christian, as a preacher and as a leader. She is a terrific person," Dr. Paschal told 2 Works for You anchor Karen Larsen. "I'm excited about what God is going to do through her and with her in this church."
Quoting Bible scripture, "If you seek me, you will find me, if you seek me with your whole heart," Rev. Moffatt said. "And I would not undertake a position like this one without first going to the floor - literally to the floor on my knees - and seeking the guidance of the Spirit. I think the potential here is sky high. I'm just so happy to be coming to a church that believes in the power of prayer," Rev. Moffatt said while offering a welcome to all visitors. "I think if anybody is looking for a church where they will be loved and accepted for who they are and yet at the same time, called to the wonderful, high calling of Jesus Christ, and to live in his grace and live out his word. Visiting this church would be the thing to do."
She has already planned one of the first things she will do when she assumes the leadership role. Like any good leader, Moffatt plans to simply listen to the hearts of the people and see how God is already leading them. She firmly believes God led her back to this church, and home to Tulsa.
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