About Reverend John Wright
Born in a devout Methodist home in Campbellsville, Kentucky, where he went to church at least three times a week, John first sensed a call to ordained ministry when he was in the eighth grade and answered that call as a high school sophomore. John was the first in seven generations of dirt farmers to leave his county. After graduating from Kentucky Wesleyan College with a B.A. in English, John headed for Texas to enter the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
There John met his future wife, the Rev. Barbara J. Ruth. In 1975, he was assigned to FUMC-Austin as a Perkins intern under the mentorship of the Rev. Dr. Jack Heacock. Thus began his long relationship to, and love for, this church. After receiving his Master Theology degree from Perkins in 1977, John was accepted into the SMU graduate program in religious studies to work on a Ph.D. degree in systematic theology with the goal of teaching in a seminary although he did not complete his dissertation.
So John returned to his first love—pastoral ministry—serving Center Point UMC (near Kerrville), Chapel Hill UMC in San Antonio, Oak Hill UMC in Austin (as co-pastors with Barbara), and Grace UMC in Corpus Christi. In 2010, Barbara and John were appointed co-pastors at FUMC-Austin where Barbara retired in 2015.
Barbara and John have two daughters of whom they are very proud: Rachel Ruth Ruth, who serves as Director of Global Missions at Tarrytown UMC here in Austin and the Rev. Elizabeth Ruth Wright, pastor of First UMC, Edinburg, TX. John and Barbara have two beautiful grandchildren, Jack and Esme.
Rev. John Wright calls himself a “progressive evangelical” because he has the passion of an evangelical, but operates out of a classically progressive, open-minded, and non-judgmental theological perspective. I’m passionate,” John says, “about people personally experiencing God’s amazing, unconditional love called grace and passionate about making disciples of Jesus Christ who are committed to making a difference in our world.” His goal is for worship at FUMC to be faithful to the classical Christian tradition, yet creative and fresh, never stale or a boring rote routine. He’s committed to radical hospitality—to welcoming ALL persons without exception! He wants to develop disciples who practice extreme generosity, are engaged in expanding their studies and are risk-takers in service and mission.
Passionate about spiritual growth, John’s door is always open—at any time—to anyone who wants to talk about their spiritual journey.