The church will be hosting a farewell reception for the Harper Family on Sunday, June 15 from 4-6 p.m. in the church Fellowship Hall to give church members and the community an opportunity to say goodbye to the Harpers. The community is invited to come and offer its thanks and prayers for a happy transition to Forest. A “love offering” will be taken for those wishing to express their appreciation.
Rev. Harper has been re-appointed to First UMC of Forest and will begin preaching there June 22.
In reflecting on his seven-year appointment at First UMC Eupora, several church members (and Methodist leaders) had such wonderful remembrances of the Harpers.
“I have loved Bro. Trey since he came to Eupora. I taught John and Josh in the 4th grade. I love his ‘takes’ on school. Bro. Trey texted me one day and said, ‘Could you tell me if we are having the science fair this year.’ I said, ‘No …. We have not scheduled it at this time.’ The best response ever follow from Trey … ‘PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL CREATURES FLOW!’ My sentiments exactly! We are going to miss their very smart kids at EES.” — Becky Oliver
“The Harper’s are the reason we came to Eupora FUMC. In 2008, we were searching for a church we could call home. We ‘heard’ about the fantastic preaching that Trey Harper was bringing to the pulpit and about all the wonderful children’s ministries he was working on. So we decided to come. It didn’t take us but ONE Sunday to realize that EFUMC was the church family we had been searching for. Trey’s messages each week speak to us as followers of Christ, parents, and as a family. He has always made it such a welcoming place to be. We can never repay Trey or his family for all the wonderful memories that have been shared in and out of the church building.” — Blake, Jackie, Maddie and Ryleigh McMullan
“Since Trey has been here he has real
ly gotten involved with the children’s ministry and the youth ministry and he has made changes and provided people to build those ministries. As a youth, I would like to thank Trey for providing the foundation for a great youth ministry and also providing people that brought us closer together with God and converted us from a group to a family! He has also done a good job of transforming our church and opening our eyes to this generation’s form of worship!” — Lauren Carney
“Bro. Trey has been a constant blessing to our church these last six years. He came at a time when a revitalization of the congregation was needed. We needed a young family man who would appeal to that demographic, and that is exactly what we go along with a wonderful preacher! He was needed by our church and will be missed.” — Dan Burchfield
“So many things come to mind when I think of Trey and his family. I remember when they walked in to the Day Care Center with children ready to learn. I remember being grateful that we finally had a preacher with young children! How exciting! I remember seeing him in line at Emmaus. It was the biggest surprise and it meant the world to me. I remember when Trey married our children and baptized our grandbaby. We loved the way our church service was meaningful even though I always feel like Trey was talking to me and stepping on my toes. Thanks for the SHED! Trey reminds me of my Dad in so many ways. He could make anything happen in a church! I love the way Trey had everyone talking in the congregation and didn’t care what you did as long as that ugly screen was not over the stained glass! Still laughing about that one! Thanks for laughing at everything Beth and Bobby say. Thanks for being responsible for all the children down in front on Sunday Morning. Thanks for blowing everyone’s mind with a praise band! Thanks for making it okay to play Kung Fu Fighting on Sunday Morning! Thanks for letting us love your family, including your wonderful parents and all the great memories we have together. I am still mad at Carol for giving you boxes. You know we are going to miss you more than you will ever know! God has great things for you! Needless to say, I am crying!” — J.D. and Lynn McCafferty
“Bro. Trey has meant so much to my whole family that it’s difficult to even put it into words. When my parents, Mary and Lewis Lee, moved to Eupora in 2006 after they lost their home on the Coast in Katrina, they quickly found a home at EFUMC and a friend in Bro. Trey. My Dad loved Bro. Trey’s singing and Bro. Trey loved my Dad’s Italian Cream Cake and sugar cookies! When both of my parents were terminally ill with cancer just a couple of short years later, Bro. Trey became a support for my whole family during what was the most difficult time in our lives. I always looked forward to hearing him preach whenever I was in town, and I’m so sorry that I’m not going to be back in Eupora before he leaves. It won’t be the same without him, and he will be missed by me and many others at EFUMC.” — Miriam Lee
“Trey has done so much for our church in his seven years of ministry with us. Our children’s and youth programs have grown so much under his leadership. He and his family will be missed so much in our community. My family wishes the Harper family happy times in Forest and that God will continue blessing his ministry.” — Shelia Murphy
“Brother Trey’s ministry has been super important to me for many reasons. His willingness to do anything for anyone at any given time has taught me a great deal about how we are called to serve others and the Church. I am super glad he saw something in me when this opportunity for me to lead these youth came open, and I am super glad Trey has been here these past few months to guide me through it with patience and kindness, even if I didn’t deserve it.” — Chase DeNoon
“Trey is a great leader not only for his church but for the annual conference and his local community. He leads by example and is a great spiritual leader. He is comfortable being the minister of young children, teenagers, young adults, middle age adults and more seasoned persons. Under Trey’s leadership Eupora First membership has increased, particularly for families with young children. Under his leadership the church as also become more involved in their local community and through out the Mississippi a Annual Conference, as evidenced by the church’s recent involvement in the relief efforts related to the tornados that impacted Winston County. We will miss Trey, in this district but we know that he will continue to provide great leadership in his next pastoral appointment. We wish the best for Trey and his family as they go forth.”
— Embra Jackson, Starkville District Superintendent for the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church
“As the Episcopal Leader of the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2012, I have grown to appreciate Rev. Trey Harper’s leadership. Trey exhibits leadership that is both administrative and pastoral in style. He is able to lead Eupora First United Methodist Church with both “Heart and Mind”. After only a few moments with Trey you can grasp his high intellect as well as the compassion he has for others. He has lead Eupora First Church the past seven years to a church that welcomes persons of all ages and all walks in life. When I preached at the church recently I was impressed by the various ages of parishioners and how engaged the laity is in the life of their church. Rev. Harper has done an excellent job of helping the members obtain a God centered vision and mission that they live out in their community and around the world. In addition to his service to his local church and community, Trey also serves as the secretary of our annual conference. In this role he again exhibits great leadership that we in the Mississippi Annual Conference have grown to depend on. We are truly blessed by Rev. Harper’s leadership in our Annual Conference.”
James E. Swanson, Sr., Bishop for the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church
See this story in the June 11, 2014 edition of The Webster Progress Times at http://websterprogresstimes.com/2014/06/12/first-umc-honors-harper-family/