Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News
The St. Luke "Community" United Methodist church has for years help shape the history of Dallas. Now it's creating a new chapter in its own history.
Members of the St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in East Dallas gathered on Sunday to meet and welcome their new spiritual leader.
"We asked the master send us a leader who has the patience of Job, the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, the focus and determination of David," Bernice J. Washington, a church member said.
The new pastor is Dr. Henry Masters. Born and raised in Waco, his arrival at this church means coming home.
"It's important for the community to have the kind of presence and the kind of influence that it needs from the community," Masters said.
At nearly 80 years old, St. Luke's is one of the oldest and largest black United Methodist churches in the Metroplex.
It's a place of worship that attracts Dallas' powerhouse figures to its pews, like Dallas County commissioner John Wiley Price or former mayor, Ron Kirk.
Over the years, there have been a handful of ministers who've had the opportunity of preaching to this congregation, including Dr. Zan Holmes Jr., who led worshipers for 28 years.
The church has experienced dark moments. In 2001, vandals sprayed swastikas on the building's windows. In February, a lawsuit was filed against the church and its former senior pastor, Rev. Tyrone Gordon, who is accused of sexually harassing another man.
"We hope to be able to provide some presence, some pastoral presence, to provide some healing, some restoring of the ministries in the church and restoring of confidence,” Masters said.