Asbury Made a Difference


     The year was 1970.  Bill Mason was senior pastor of Asbury UMC.  Nancy Baxter was Youth Director.  Ninth graders, Paul Westervelt and Sandy Parks had just arrived at Asbury and soon were active in MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship).  Bill and Nancy instilled in these young minds a love for Jesus and a love for scripture.  The seed was planted, and only God knew what might grow.

     Entering Oklahoma State University together, Paul and Sandy found time for Bible study in addition to their academic studies.  They were married at Asbury after completing their junior year of college and moved to Tulsa where Sandy would intern for a year as a Medical Technologist at Saint John’s.  They graduated the next spring.  Several years later as young adults, they began teaching Precept Bible studies at Asbury and led the missions commission there.

     In 1997, PennWell Publishing asked Paul to leave his job in Tulsa as Director of Circulation to move to Houston to head up a new company – PennEnergy.  The family was soon active in their neighborhood church in Katy, Texas.  Not long after the beginning of the new century, Paul began taking evening and Saturday classes in Houston offered by Dallas Theological Seminary.  He planned to get a seminary degree by the time his children finished college, so he could seek church-related work to finish out his career.  In the meantime, Sandy was extremely active in the women’s ministry at their church, as she coordinated the women’s ministry activities and Bible study programs.

     Paul and Sandy’s son Brett graduated in electrical engineering from the University of Texas and is serving his second year with Campus Crusade for Christ in Austin.  Their daughter Amy is a junior at Texas A&M and spends her summers as a counselor at Kamp Kanakuk.

     Paul’s call to Christian service came two years early.  In November he resigned from his job as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of PennEnergy.  On December 5, 2005, Paul began work in Colorado Springs for NavPress (, the publishing arm of the Navigators.  In his new role he is the Publisher for “Discipleship Journal” and “Pray” magazines and a related line of books.

     (Navigators is a Christian organization with representatives on college campuses all around the world.  NavPress, a ministry of the Navigators, publishes books, Bible studies, periodicals and The Message Bible to enrich the spiritual walks of some four million people annually.)

     God prepared Paul for his new job by teaching him management skills in the corporate world and by a lifetime of Bible study.  Bill Mason and Asbury were key influencers in Paul and Sandy’s marriage and Christian development.  This early direction has now made it possible for Paul to participate in a ministry that supports churches and ministries around the world.  Just one more example of the global reach of this local community we call Asbury United Methodist Church. – John C. Westervelt



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