Daily Grat: Billy and Laura

This morning, I had a 9 am meeting in Frisco.

As an aside, this violates the terms of one of my own core life values:

“Rarely does anything good happen before 10 am.”

“Rarely” allows me to include the occasional outlier, and still get at the meaning. Lot’s of stuff *happens* before 10 am. Just rarely is any of it “good.” Most of it’s a lot of hard work and slogging.

Anyway, I fought through a northbound traffic accident on the tollroad (proving my point, of course…) and got to the meeting late.

The meeting was at Grace Avenue UMC in Frisco, where we’ll be doing our next Connections show a week from Friday. The meeting was with my old and dear friends, Billy and Laura Echols-Richter, who have been copastors there since the church’s founding ten years ago.

Back then, we were all in a study group together and used to see each other semi-regularly. That group disbanded as we moved different places over time. But I still remember those early years for them…how they were basically sent out to an area with nothing but promise and dream. I remember seeing their early space, how it was little more than an office building.

Now, it’s a established and fast-growing church, with four worship services and thousands of members.

Amazing stuff. It was great to walk around the building with them, and recall when it was all just a dream.

And, just yesterday, a member of Northaven told me an amazing story about Billy. This member told me that, years ago, a friend of hers wandered into Grace Avenue at a time of great need. Billy took the time to talk to her and counsel her. The woman eventually turned her life around in a major way and is now incredibly active at the church.

Knowing Billy, it didn’t surprise me.

So, for old friends like Billy and Laura, for the chance to know folks long enough to see such dreams born and grown, I am thankful.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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