Texas Pastoral Couple Reflect Upon Fifty Years of Faithful Service
By Kevin Spear
On June 4, 2023, Pastor Albert Wright and First Lady Emma Wright celebrated fifty years of faithful service at New Life Church of God in Brenham, Texas. Friends and family gathered around gold balloons and a cake while the Wrights’ nephew and niece, both principals at Texas schools, recited poems written in honor of the couple.
Pastor Wright said, “They were great poems of faith and gave examples of the early years of our ministry.” Sadly, it was tragedy, not poetry, however, that gave way to Pastor Wright’s calling. “In 1973, our pastor, Elder Nelson Taplin, was killed in an automobile accident. Before that, he mentored me and developed my leadership skills.”
Little did he know those skills would be put to the test. He already had a career as a purchaser at a local medical facility, a job he still holds today. He had not considered becoming a pastor until then. However, as he led the church through their sorrow, he heard and answered God’s call. Thus began fifty years of ministry as a bivocational pastor.
In 1976, Wright received the call to pursue ordination. Moreover, in 1981, he was ordained in the Church of God. “I took advice from many mentors, such as Rev. V.V. Lister, Dr. Preston Ervin Sr., Rev. Dock Hancock, Rev. Willie Hughes, and Rev. Carl T. Crawford. I had a strong support system; I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
Pastor Wright also credits his wife, First Lady Emma Wright, who recognized his calling. “He was called by the Spirit! He is very compassionate and takes the time to listen to parishioners, especially the young people.”
First Lady Wright has enjoyed pastoring with her husband. Of course, there were challenges. “The original church site was eighteen miles from our home. I had to organize and prepare our children for the journey between Sundays and Wednesday nights.” Nevertheless, they changed the challenge into a blessing when they bought a van and picked up children along the way to attend their church!
First Lady Wright gave her secret to feeling blessed. “It is because of God’s Word and the power of prayer. When things get challenging, always go to God in prayer!”
In 2001, the church was relocated to Brenham and renamed New Life Church of God. Pastor Wright explains, “You have to go where the people are, and we decided we needed to be closer to town.”
The church continues to thrive. Pastor Wright advises, “Make sure you stay humble! Establish good relationships with people, including the young members of your congregation.” He makes it a point to greet each attendee, whether young or old. “The young can feel intimidated unless you reach out to them, so make them feel comfortable by attending their events. Humility is key.”
Pastor Wright continues, “Always observe the principles of God. Never fear change. When you are stuck in tradition, you fail to grow.”
The Wrights were surprised and overwhelmed at the response to their anniversary service. “Family and friends came from all over Texas,” says First Lady Wright. “We had no idea how many would be coming.”
It is evident by the outpouring of love and well wishes that Pastor and First Lady Wright have been a humble, God-honoring example to their community. Pastor Wright has this advice for any pastor who wishes to have a long, fulfilling ministry: “Be a good listener. Listen, listen, listen!”
Kevin Spear worked for Warner Christian Resources (formerly Warner Press) and has regularly contributed time and talent to the work of Church of God Ministries. Today, he is content creator and storyteller for OneHope in Pompano Beach, Florida. He is also a ministry partner with his wife Paula, an ordained minister in the Church of God.