Sunday afternoon after services, congregants drove up to Williams Memorial United Methodist Church to bid fond farewell to Brad Morgan, senior pastor for seven years.
Morgan was with his wife, Laura, son John and daughter Kate all issued goodbye greetings.
Morgan spoke fondly of his congregants and his time with Williams Memorial UMC.
"The people of this church are community change-makers," he said. "They have been intentional in my time here about supporting this community. From public education to general efforts to help make Texarkana a place for all people. It has been a joy to serve alongside them."
Morgan said the call for a Christian walk came to him at an early age while beholding a church steeple. But the call to pastorship came to him later in life, 16 years ago when he was already established in a computer-oriented career.
"I got a job offer in the field as a UNIX administrator. I helped design microchips. I got flown all over the country, helping to set up computer networks," he said. "I dropped out of college to do this great job and was becoming recognized in the field. But God came calling and I made the move to the ministry, taking a job that paid less initially than what I paid in taxes the year before."
Since starting out at Bonita Methodist Church, north of Nacogdoches, Texas, doing his student pastorate, his work in the ministerial field has taken him to different postings in the United Methodist Church's Central South District of the Texas. Seven years ago, he landed at Williams Memorial, congregation 1800. Since then, he has served in a church with several different ministries, including a retirement-home service as well as a Korean ministry. He even had a radio ministry, Faith Insights with Pastor Brad, that was broadcast on 98.5 FM.
His next move will be to Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.
In his seven years here, he has watched his family serve and grow in Texarkana. His wife, Laura, is a career nurse who worked in the emergency room at CHRISTUS St. Michael. John, his son and eldest, has just finished his freshman year at SMU. He will begin his studies in the business school at SMU in the fall semester of 2020. His daughter, Kate, just graduated from Texas High, where she served on the editorial staff of the Tiger Times.
"The Morgan family has been the perfect family to serve at Williams Memorial," said James Henry Russell, member of Williams Memorial UMC and also executive vice president and chief financial officer at BWI Companies Inc. "They are leaving this church the best shape it has ever seen."
The church had to learn quickly to be a broadcasting resource during the COVID shutdown.
"We are accustomed to sharing God's love face-to-face," Morgan said. So, basically zigging for years, we had to learn to zag.
"But God has blessed us abundantly, even increased participation in our church remotely. We feel like we are stronger than ever, because of the love God has allowed us to share, with each other and the community. We have tried to be outspoken about issues of racial equality. We really want Texarkana to be a place for all people. I'm grateful, love everyone here and it is just great to have had a chance to serve the Texarkana community."