Wiggs to replace Biggs as Boston Avenue United Methodist Church pastor
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 5:50 AM
Members of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church learned Sunday who will succeed the retiring Rev. Mouzon Biggs, their pastor for nearly 33 years.
And it's someone many of them know.
On June 1, District Superintendent David Wiggs, overseer of the 42 churches in the Stillwater District of the United Methodist Church, will become the senior pastor at Boston Avenue, one of Tulsa's oldest and most influential churches.
Biggs will preach his farewell sermon June 2.
Wiggs was an associate pastor at Boston Avenue under Biggs for 13 years. He also served as a youth minister at the church years earlier, before Biggs arrived, while taking a short break from his studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Both of his daughters, Grace and Hope, were baptized by Biggs.
"I'm thrilled with this opportunity," said Wiggs, a runner who has participated in a number of triathlons.
"Boston Avenue is renowned in United Methodist circles as one of our great churches, and one of our great pulpits. They have a great history."
Wiggs, 55, was born and raised in Okmulgee, and was active in high school in First Methodist Church, where his parents and grandparents worshipped.
He was president of his youth group and often spoke during youth services at church.
As a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, he began "sensing a call into full-time ordained ministry," he said, and started the long process toward ordination.
He graduated from OU and then earned a master of divinity degree from the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., where he met his future wife, Mary Hughes.
After ordination, he served as a youth minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Tulsa for two years, and then as associate minister at Boston Avenue, working with youths and in evangelism.
He was senior pastor of the 2,000-plus member First United Methodist Church in Enid for 10 years until 2010, when he was named district superintendent.
Wiggs said that in recent months he was aware that Biggs was retiring, and loved the idea of coming to Tulsa, but tried not to focus on it because the decision is made by the bishop.
He said United Methodism has changed from a U.S. denomination to a global denomination and is growing rapidly in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Far East.
Membership in the U.S. is declining, which is typical of other mainline denominations, but Oklahoma United Methodist Bishop Robert Hayes has spearheaded a concerted strategic planning effort to address that in Oklahoma, Wiggs said, "and we're beginning to see the fruit of that."
The former youth minister said he was concerned that "we're seeing young adults stay away from the church in record numbers," a trend he attributed to a constellation of factors, including a culture in which people are unwilling to make commitments and a general distrust of institutions, including the church.
He also cited the church-camp experience of free-flowing worship led by guitars and drums.
"We didn't recognize that we were breeding a generation of people who don't appreciate the liturgical style of worship," he said.
However in the last four or five years, he said, interest is growing in a blend of ancient and modern forms of worship.
He also stressed the importance of helping people interface Sunday worship with the rest of their week.
"We need to be intentional about focusing on the practical application of spiritual truth," he said.
Original Print Headline: Wiggs returns to Boston Avenue
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Face The Rev. David Wiggs: He was an associate pastor at Boston Avenue under the Rev. Mouzon Biggs for 13 years. He also served as a youth minister at the church years earlier, before Biggs arrived, while taking a short break from his studies at the University of Oklahoma