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Creative and Colorblind Church



The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell believes healthy congregations look toward the future and embrace change. Caldwell's forward thinking is embodied in his non-traditional choice in a new associate pastor. Lilla Marigza has the story.

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(Locator: Houston, Texas)

Choir: "Everybody ought to praise him."

The Reverend Kim Orr stands out at the 18,000 member Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. Orr is the first cross-racial appointment for this predominantly African-American congregation, a bold move by senior pastor, The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell.

The Rev. Kim Orr, Windsor Village United Methodist Church: "You want to look like what you want to become. And so if the concept is to bring in a larger percentage of non African-American members, then you have to begin to mirror that in your leadership."

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, Windsor Village United Methodist Church: "I think the kingdom consists of persons of all ages, nations and races. So to have a church that's homogeneous is arguably not reflective of the kingdom."

Caldwell encourages Sunday school seven days a week for all ages. He gives Orr credit for her academic strengths.

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell: "The first few times I met her, she was always telling me about a book that she was reading, and lo and behold I'd go buy the book, I'd read it. It blessed me, too. I mean, this woman is smart. She can recommend books that bless me."

Orr holds two Masters degrees and has a passion for sharing the scripture.

The Rev. Kim Orr: "This is Jesus' way of condensing down the core of Jewish prayers and inserting himself as the fulfillment of those prayers."

The Rev. Kim Orr: "They're very appreciative of a higher level of academic rigor in the teaching."

The Rev. Kim Orr: "Greek, like us, reads left to right."

She created a "Prayer and the Arts" class that mixes theology with simple art, and often, music.

The Rev. Kim Orr: "Mama take this badge off me&ellipsis;"

The Rev. Kim Orr: "My major goal with that class was to help everyone see that all humans are created in the image of a creating God. Therefore, whether you think you are or not, you are creative."

One of the largest United Methodist churches in the U.S., Windsor Village facilitates 75 ministries aimed at making church relevant every day.

The Rev. Kim Orr: "So, you have to be prepared to come before the Lord."

Orr believes the secret to church growth is in doing rather than philosophizing.

The Rev. Kim Orr: "For me, a vital congregation is really all about meeting the needs, first and foremost, the needs of the community through a biblical lens. You really have to believe when Jesus said, 'Go love your neighbor,' that you were really meant to do that, not just intellectually process and think about it, but actually put some feet to that. That is one of the things that makes this place so terribly vital."


For more information, contact Windsor Village United Methodist Church at 713-723-8187.

Posted: May 20, 2011