My faith journey is boring and uneventful compared to that of many members of St. Luke’s. I was born a Methodist in Groesbeck with Methodist parents and Methodist grandparents and great grandparents on my father’s side. When my parents moved the family to Pecos in west Texas during the summer after my first grade, my parents joined the First Methodist church and I and my two siblings and another sibling born in Pecos joined the church after each completed the confirmation class. Growing up we all went to church and the children also went to Sunday School. My parents were very involved in the church and my father was on the board of stewards including a term as chairman.
After high school, I went to the University of Texas in Austin. As is the case for many college students, finding a church and attending regularly was not a high priority.
The most traumatic event of my life was the loss of my father at the age of 49 due to a heart attack while I was in graduate school. Although he had open-heart surgery when he was 42, there were no apparent signs of the heart attack. He was playing golf with three doctors when it struck and died on the golf course. While I had always played sports and tried to stay in shape, his death reinforced that discipline and led me to miss church one Sunday per year for 33 years to run the Houston Marathon.
After college, I took a job in Houston with Brown & Root where I worked for 20+ years. After a divorce in the late ’70s, I started looking for a church and found St. Luke’s which was billed as a “beacon church” with members from 55 zip codes and was the second-largest Methodist Church west of the Mississippi second only to First Methodist downtown. I discovered the wide reach of the church when I visited John Wesley’s house in London and saw a plaque on a bedroom door that said, “the funds to refurbish the room were provided by St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Houston, Texas”.
I joined the Good Will class and played on the volley team which usually won the season. The year 1982 was a good year for me – I qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon, had Ed Gerlach’s band play happy birthday for me at a rehearsal for an event, and I met and married Becky. When Becky gave her faith journey to the Good Will Class a couple of years ago, she said that when she met Jack, she found both a church and a husband.
Both of our sons, Tommy and Ben, were very involved at St. Luke’s. When Ben was in Pure Sound, Sid found talents that neither Ben not his parents knew he had. When Ben was giving his senior testimonial in the Encounter Service, he noted that at the Browder house, “going to church on Sunday was not optional”.
My Biblical knowledge started to increase in one of the many small groups set up just after Tom came to St. Luke’s. After going through Unbinding the Gospel and Unbinding the Heart, I was asked to co-lead a small group that I have done over the past four years. I have been an usher for 35+ years, but my favorite job at St. Luke’s has been leading the “Outside Welcomer” team for the past 12 years. I like to pursue jobs at St. Luke’s and elsewhere where I think I can “make a difference”.
The more we put into the ministries of St. Luke’s, the more we receive.
Photo of the Browder Family taken at the Sea of Galilee 2012