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McDonough church receives new spiritual leader

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Dr. Howard J. Wright orates to his parishioners in a familiar, conversational tone.

"So far, from what I've seen, he's very good," said parishioner, Edward Brabham. "I'm sure he has a lot to bring to the community."

Wright delivered his first message at his new church on June 26. He is now the spiritual leader of the 1,500-member Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in McDonough.

He was appointed as senior pastor at Wesley Chapel, following a three-year appointment as superintendent of the LaGrange District in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. He replaced Wesley Chapel's former pastor, Sharma Lewis, who was appointed to be district superintendent of the North Georgia Conference's Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District.

"It's been a good experience," said Wright. "We're looking for great things to happen. It's an exciting community to be in, seeing all the growth and potential. I think the church has a lot to offer. It has the potential to be a good partner and leader in this community."

Wright said he hopes to serve on missions, both national and international.

"We plan to continue to be involved in the community, and want to touch all groups [of people]," he continued. "We are called to spread the good news to the world, and to help our fellow man, as God called us to do."

Wright said he was "called to the ministry," following an automobile accident some 30 years ago. He said he saw a different direction for his life, then, and has been involved with the ministry ever since. He has been ministering with the United Methodist Church for the past 25 years.

The pastor said he lives by the words contained in the Bible, in Matthew 6:33, and encourages others to consider the words to help guide their lives. "Seek first his kingdom of Heaven, and all things will be given to you," he said. "Whatever you want in your life, if you put God first, you can have it [because] achieving accomplishments is believing. I think Christ is the answer to all of it, because it's that faith that guides you."

The pastor said he served two years of active duty in the U.S. Army, as a sergeant stationed at Fort McPherson, Ga.

Wright noted that he has been a professional musician as well, earning a Master of Music Degree from Georgia State University. He said he taught "music business" and music production at Georgia State University and Morehouse College, both in Atlanta, while running his own property management business.

He said he later attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill., where he received his Doctorate of Ministry. He now resides in McDonough with his wife of 40 years, Hester, with whom he has three children and nine grandchildren.

The grandfather said he is pleased to be in McDonough, now, ministering to a receptive congregation of locals.

"He's doing an excellent job -- he's an excellent teacher, preacher and administrator," said church member, Raymond Hendricks. "He can provide excellent leadership and Bible training. He's a great educator."