St. James UMC Getting New Pastor


St. James United Methodist Church will be getting a new pastor this summer, while St. Paul UMC will be getting an associate pastor.

The two churches are the only remaining United Methodist congregations in Abilene. Other local congregations have disaffiliated from the UMC and have joined the conservative Global Methodist Church, which launched May 1, 2022. Among those are two of Abilene’s largest congregations, Aldersgate and Wylie Methodist churches. 

The new appointments are effective July 1. Stephania Gilkey will be the new pastor of St. James UMC, replacing Dot Lea, who is taking a medical retirement. Gilkey formerly served as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Abilene, beginning in 2013. Most recently, she was associate pastor of Polk Street UMC in Amarillo.

Stephania Gilkey

Ruby Moultrie, currently pastor of First UMC in Levelland, will be the Multi-site pastor at St. Paul. She will assist senior pastor Benji Van Fleet, who was appointed to that position on July 1, 2022. In her new role, Moultrie will have several duties, Van Fleet said.

“Starting July 01, Ruby will be the Associate Pastor of Community Groups and Congregational Care,” he said. “Her primary role will be to work with our two current Wesley Community Groups, which gather in Clyde and Abilene. She will also coordinate ministry teams for engagement in ministry with church members in need of care.”

According to the website of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference, seven Wesley Community groups have formed around the conference, which stretches from the Panhandle to Abilene and west to Midland. Those groups connect to a Covenant or Hub Church.

“These groups can decide how and when they want to meet,” according to the website. “They can choose to stay at a small group meeting in a home or local coffee shop or work towards becoming a new church start.” 

Gilkey, the new pastor at St. James, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and was ordained in 2022. After retiring from the Air Force, she started serving in pastoral ministry in 2006 and has serve at various congregations in the Panhandle and Abilene area. 

She and her husband, Gerald, who also is retired from the Air Force, have four sons and one grandson. 

Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.