January 7, 2015 - Following the recent retirement of Rev. Joel McMahon, Rev. Karen Jones was appointed as the new pastor of Center First United Methodist Church .A native of Longview, Texas, she went to Longview High School and attended Winterfield UMC. In high school she was a 3 year member of the Conference Council of Youth Ministry. Her mom, Arlene, is a retired teacher and her father was a millwright at Lone Star Steel.
Rev. Jones attended Stephen F Austin State University and received a B.S. In Home Economics and then taught Home Economics in several schools in East Texas while earning a M.Ed. In Counseling at North Texas State University. Public school counseling occupied most of her life in the public schools where she was fortunate to be able to start at-risk counseling programs in several districts. Rev. Jones is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Counselor Supervisor in the State of Texas. Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University is where she went to seminary, graduating in December 2010.
Rev. Jones was awarded the Gilbert Ferrell Outstanding Methodist Studies Award during her last year at Brite. The presenter of the award said of Rev. Jones that she has a servant’s heart.
While attending seminary, Rev. Jones continued to work in a school district as a high school counselor and served Liberty Springs UMC in Milam. After retiring from public schools, she added 2 additional churches to her responsibilities: Geneva and McMahan Chapel. After graduation, she was commissioned and appointed to Hemphill FUMC. Rev. Jones was ordained an Elder in the Texas Annual Conference in June 2013. This past July she also began to pastor Pineland UMC. She has also served as a facilitating Elder for several small churches in Sabine and San Augustine Counties. She has been under appointment in the Annual Conference for 9 ½ years. While serving Hemphill FUMC, she served on the board of the Hemphill Education Foundation and as the chaplain for the Six Mile Volunteer Fire Department.
She also served on the Board of Directors of East Texas Support Services in Jasper.
Perkins School of Theology has begun the Center for Preaching Excellence and Rev. Jones is pleased to be one of nine members of our annual conference to be selected to participate in this inaugural 2 year program. She also has one more year to serve on her term as the Spiritual Director for the East Texas Emmaus Community.
She and her husband Martin have been married for 34 years. Martin is the Director of Music and Arts at FUMC Jasper. Martin recently retired as an adjunct music instructor for Angelina College on their Jasper Campus. Martin grew up in South Bosque, Texas and is a graduate of Sam Houston State University.
The Jones are the parents of 2 adult children, Melody and Martin II. Melody is married to Jordan Pokladnik and they live in Dallas. Melody graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches with a degree in Musical Theatre Performance. She has acted in the Dallas area and toured over a year with Missoula Children’s Theatre. Melody recently to returned to college and is currently a senior at TCU where she is working toward a degree in Interior Design. She is employed by Linda Fritschy Interior Design. Jordan is an actor and artist who also manages a warehouse that supplies parts to the major airlines at DFW and Love Field airports.
Martin II is married to Jennifer. They live in Huntsville where Martin manages the Larry Hallam All State Insurance Agency. He is a graduate of Sam Houston State University where he earned a B.S. Degree in Business and Finance. Jennifer works as a dental assistant. They have one child McKinley who is 2 ½ and full of energy and personality.
The members of Center First United Methodist Church are pleased to have Rev. Jones as their new pastor. After her first Sunday in the pulpit of FUMC , those in attendance soon realized that Rev. Jones has a passion for sharing the Lord's word and that Rev. Jones has a strong desire to not only be leader in the church but also wants to be a part of the Center and Shelby county community in her service to others.