Highland Heights welcomes new pastor

Jake Wade has taken on the role of pastor at Highland Heights United Methodist Church. His first service at the church was last Sunday, June 29. Raised as a preacher's kid, Wade's father was a Baptist preacher until the family began attending the Methodist church when he was twelve years old. As a result of his father's ministry, the family would move to different towns on a regular basis.Wade attended seven different schools from the time he began middle school until he graduated--five of which were during his high school years. He would go on to attend McMurry University in Abilene, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus on Theatre.It was also in Abilene where Wade met his fiancee, Kelsie Nygren. The couple met while she, the children's librarian at the Abilene Public Library, was leading a craft and he was reading to children during the Children's Art and Literacy Festival.After learning they held common interests, their relationship began. They intend on marrying in October 2015 as she is currently working toward earning her Masters' degree.Prior to graduating from McMurry, Wade was called to the ministry. Although he initially didn't want to be a pastor, he said that he is very happy that he took up the call.Taking on the leadership role at the Sweetwater church is Wade's first appointment in his ministry, although he previously filled in as pulpit supply at Hawley United Methodist Church. And along with the local church, he is also pastoring the Roby United Methodist Church. He is able to take on both roles by preaching at the 9 a.m. Sunday morning service in Sweetwater and then heads on over to Roby to preach at their 10:50 a.m. worship service.While he serves as a part-time local pastor, Wade said that he works on a full-time schedule in order to devote himself to the church and be visible within the community. He wants to be able to offer himself as a counselor to those in the community who may be seeking counsel.With both churches, Wade stated that they are ready for growth, a new direction and are excited about having a young pastor. He wants to draw younger families in to provide an outlet and help the church to grow. Additionally, he wants to connect with other local church for a collaborative effort in helping struggling churches.For Highland Heights, he believes that the new direction can serve as a boost in order to come together in God's name to reach the community in new ways and avenues. Furthermore, the location of the church--near the interstate--can allow the church to reach out to the homeless and those in poverty so that they can be a helping hand.Highland Heights United Methodist Church is located at 1801 Lamar in Sweetwater. Their Sunday worship is held at 9 a.m., with Sunday School following at 10:30 a.m.