Four Northwest District Churches Unite For Prayer Services

NW Churches doing Vespers

First UMCs in Archer City, Burkburnett, Holliday and Iowa Park join together for Vesper Services this summer

This summer, four churches in the Northwest District will gather for a series of evening prayer services called Vespers. It includes prayers, songs and a brief sermon. This is a long-standing tradition of collaboration that took a hiatus last summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Host churches this year are First UMC Iowa Park, First UMC Archer City, First UMC Holliday and First UMC Burkburnett.

Rev. Paul Meyenberg, Pastor at FUMC Holliday, first experienced a Vespers service nearly 20 years ago when Wesley UMC of Wichita Falls co-sponsored an ecumenical Vespers series with area churches of other denominations. He has found it to be a wonderful way to bring people together.

“My hope is that those who come will get to hear a message from a different pastor than their own, which is a blessing to hear another view of things," said Rev. Meyenberg, who has spearheaded a collaborative series in the Northwest district each summer. "And they can hear different types of music from the different places.”

Rev. Liz Talbert, Senior Pastor at FUMC Burkburnett, had the idea to be intentional about having the female pastors preach at the churches served by male pastors and vice versa to add another voice to people’s experiences. 

Reflecting on her first experience with the Vespers series in 2019, Senior Pastor of FUMC Archer City Rev. Silvia Wang said, “I felt that we were like the circuit riders from the days of John Wesley in England and later on in America, preaching and sharing the Gospel in our communities.

“The Vespers services are meaningful, casual worship experiences where we are refreshed by God's presence and strengthened by the connection of our United Methodist heritage. It's fun to worship together with people from nearby communities and get to know more people.”

These four rural communities have a connected network of relationships already. Meyenberg said that a number of people in his church in Holliday grew up in Archer City, while some families have members that worship and live in both communities. He hopes these Vespers services build on these connections and help form new relationships.

Each evening service is 6-6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a light reception provided by the host church. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable food items to be given to a local outreach selected by the host church. The schedule:

  • June 27 at First UMC Iowa Park with Rev. Silvia Wang from Archer City preaching. 
  • July 18 at First UMC Archer City with Rev. Paul Meyenberg from Holliday preaching.
  • Aug. 22 at First UMC Holliday with Rev. Liz Talbert from Burkburnett preaching.
  • Sept. 26 at First UMC Burkburnett with Rev. Jeffrey Pehl from Iowa Park preaching.

Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2021