By Tricia White | Managing Editor
St. Andrew United Methodist Church invites the public to its historic 35th Anniversary and Open House Celebration, Sunday, August 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5801 W. Plano Parkway. This milestone anniversary celebrates the grand reopening of campus (including new programming expansions from the capital campaign, completed at the start of pandemic but never fully opened); the legacy of Founding Pastor Rev. Robert Hasley; and the transition of leadership to Rev. Arthur Jones, only the second senior pastor in the church’s 35-year history.
“St. Andrew’s 35th anniversary will always be remembered as a time of new beginnings, the year life moved beyond the pandemic and people came together again,” said Rev. Arthur Jones, St. Andrew UMC. “We now see the light at the end of the tunnel, in-person worship is growing, programming is back, and the community will finally be able to enjoy the newly expanded areas. It has been an unprecedented time, but one in which we have learned, persevered, prayed, and supported one another. This anniversary celebration would not be possible without the vision, commitment, and dedication of Rev. Robert Hasley, who founded St. Andrew 35 years ago. Robert, my dear friend and mentor, is the perfect example of a servant leader who inspires us all to live out our faith and serve one another. As a good shepherd, he built this church so that we would be able to lean on one another in difficult times. This occasion will be a special time to come together and honor his legacy.”
As the church prepares to celebrate this milestone, Rev. Jones will become the second senior pastor of St. Andrew, effective July 1. Appointed by Bishop Mike McKee, Jones, a fifth-generation Methodist minister who began as associate pastor in 2010, succeeds St. Andrew’s Founding Pastor Robert Hasley. Rev. Jones has served in his present role as lead preaching pastor of both contemporary and traditional services at St. Andrew since 2018. With a passion for reaching and engaging younger generations, Jones was instrumental in the successful 2012 launch of the church’s contemporary services, which surpassed original growth expectations, outgrew the original space, and continue to thrive today along with St. Andrew’s traditional worship services. Jones’ newest book, Solid Souls, released by Invite Press, St. Andrew’s publishing house this summer, emphasizes the importance of everyday small choices.
“I have been praying about the future leadership of this church for years now, and I could not be more excited that Arthur Jones will lead St. Andrew into the future,” said Rev. Hasley.
“Arthur has developed into an outstanding pastor with a deep love for St. Andrew,” said Gerald Smith, chair of St. Andrew’s Staff Parish Relations Committee. “Arthur and St. Andrew’s Founding Pastor Robert Hasley have an incredible partnership that we believe is a model for how churches can pass the baton from one generation of leadership to the next.”
“I am grateful for the privilege of serving at St. Andrew for the past 11 years and honored to be named the next senior pastor,” said Rev. Arthur Jones.
Prior to coming to St. Andrew, Jones served on staff for ZOE Ministry – a United Methodist Ministry that empowers AIDS orphans in Africa to live lives free of the cycle of poverty and dependency. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and his Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. Jones, a native of Texas, grew up in Prosper, Howe, Commerce, and Highland Village, where his father was a pastor and professor at Southern Methodist University prior to being elected as a bishop in the United Methodist Church. Jones and his wife, Becky, have two children, Sam and Ella Reece.
“I want Robert Hasley to know how much I, along with our entire church family, love and appreciate him,” said Jones. He has led this church for the past 34 ½ years, and it is such a blessing to look at all that has been accomplished under his leadership.”
“St. Andrew’s first service at Shepton High School with 500 attendees was a giant day in the life of St. Andrew, and so is today,” added Hasley. “When I think back to those first years as we were growing and expanding, I will always remember when the workers began digging to prepare the foundation for our second phase of building and found solid rock which required machinery to break through. St. Andrew is literally built upon solid rock, and spiritually that is what we have been built upon all these years.”
Said Jones, “I can’t help but reflect on the many changes and challenges churches experienced this past year. At the start of the pandemic, we had no idea what its long-term effects might be on church attendance. As more and more people are vaccinated, we continue to watch our in-person worship numbers climb, and conversations with members affirm what we have always believed. If you are looking for a new church home, come on August 15, and see all that St. Andrew has to offer.”
St. Andrew’s 35th Anniversary Celebration and Open House will feature food, fun, and tours of the newly expanded areas throughout the 21-acre campus, including the children and youth programs, sanctuary, The Storehouse of Collin County, and more. For more information visit https://www.standrewumc.org/news.