KUMC Rev. Joe Fort, Jr. promoted to district superintendent
- Written by Mary Kelly Bumbaugh
Rev. Joe Fort, Jr. relinquished his pastor position at Kingwood United Methodist Church in August to accept a promotion with the Methodist Church Texas annual conference in the western district. He said he is most thankful that his 12 years in Kingwood enabled him and his wife Margaret to have their four children grow up there. “I’m most proud of the congregation because it grew deeper spiritually while I was there and it’s gratifying to see people in a deeper walk with the lord. Now I’m a regional overseer of 87 churches and more than 60 pastors, and looking forward to building-up the life of the churches in a 75-mile radius around Bryan-College Station,” Fort said. “The gifts God gave him are rarely seen in just one person,” said lay leader Halene Crossman. “He is an outstanding preacher, and compassionate pastor counselor, stemming from his own life experiences; and an excellent administrator. He has a wonderful new ministry and service opportunity, an honor and privilege.” Crossman said Fort’s sermons often focused on special needs children and increased awareness in the congregation of the value of planting new churches through local and global missions. KUMC recently pledge more than $100,000 to help make Lakeside United Methodist Church in Summerwood a reality; and has given on-going support for the Society of St. Stephen in Kingwood, a nonprofit outreach mission. Fort’s leadership influenced the expansion of the United Methodist Army, a youth and adult summer mission project that rebuilds and repairs low income housing. He oversaw KUMC building fund and left it free of debt. Between his administrative duties at the church and inspiring local mission work, he still had time to help his church members become active in global missions, and with a gift of $150,000, the congregation funded the construction of the first Methodist church in the capital of Tanzania. During his stewardship in Kingwood, all his children graduated from Kingwood High School and three went to college. One child lives at home with his parents. Because Fort and his family were so cared for by the parishioners, they presented him with him special farewell gifts of a framed portrait of himself in his ecclesiastical robes, a pen and ink drawing of the church by member Gaye Farr and an enlarged photograph of the Sea of Galilee at sunset, in recognition of the two trips to the Holy Land he led for church members. The KUMC congregation looks forward to continued growth under the leadership of new pastor Rev. Jim Welch. For more information, visit www.kingoodumc.org Photo: Rev. Joe Fort, Jr., Fellow of the Society of John Wesley, continues his mission with the Methodist Church of Texas Western district.