ESM United Methodist’s pastor has passion for mission work

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bogalusa E.S.M. United Methodist Church Pastor Bill Moon arrived at his new appointment in time to experience the city’s Centennial and Fourth of July celebrations and the events associated with them.

Moon arrived in town on June 24 from a four-year pastorate in Arcadia, located in the northwest part of the state between Ruston and Minden, in Bienville Parish. His first Sunday before the E.S.M. congregation was June 29.

What has most impressed Moon and his wife, Ann, is Bogalusa’s citizens.

“We’ve enjoyed Bogalusa. We watched the Fourth of July celebration out front. Right after that, I got to do the prayer at the Paper Queen Ball and learned about the area, it’s history and culture. The thing you appreciate first mostly is the people. You find great folks everywhere you go. I know the town is smaller than it once was, but a lot of interesting things are here. To be here for the 100th anniversary of the city was pretty cool.”

Moon also pastors Bush United Methodist Church. Moon said he has had five double appointments, or two-point charges as they are known.

Moon has been in the ministry for 29 years. He also served as a lay pastor for four years (1978-1982) in the Lake Charles District at Prospect Church in Florian and Hornbeck Church in Hornbeck.

“At that time I was a bi-vocational pastor. I had services on Sunday but had another job during the week. I sold farm equipment working for International Harvester. I did that for eight years.”

Moon said he heeded the call to become a minister.

“Most of us go into the ministry because of a sense of calling,” Moon said. “A lot of us will put that off. It comes to a point in life that if you’re going to do it, then do it now. That was where I was 30 years ago. It was a response to a call that God is calling us to the church.”

As a minister, Moon said he sees people at their best and worst times.

“As a pastor, you’re involved with peoples’ lives, whether it’s a death, birth, a crisis in their life, career change or you name it,” Moon said. “It’s an opportunity to be where people are in their lives and give them spiritual guidance. For me, one of the great joys is to see their faith deepened and see them grow spiritually.”

In 1985, Moon went to Bienville Parish for the first time and took a two-point charge. He also attended Louisiana Tech. In the fall of 1986, Moon studied at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and commuted approximately 250 miles once a week during the school year between Dallas and Gibsland.

Moon said besides leading the congregation during worship services, one of the things he finds most fulfilling is mission work.

“As a pastor, I get to do a lot of different things,” Moon said. “One of the things I enjoy the most is summer mission projects with the youth. Most construction jobs, from home repair to roof repair to painting, I’ve literally done them all. Most of the missions have been renovations, but we have done reconstructions. And the teens learn about teambuilding, communication and contributing to somebody’s life in a meaningful way. Sometimes the kids don’t realize their life had changed, but it has.”

As much as he enjoys the work, the physical labor has made Moon, who turns 65 in September, realize his own limitations.

“Roofing gets harder every year,” Moon said. “I’ve had a group of men think I spell mission as r-o-o-f-i-n-g.”

Bogalusa E.M.S. United Methodist Church has worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and Bible Study at 6 p.m. on Thursdays. The Bush U.M.C. worship service is 9 a.m. on Sundays.