The new associate pastor at Oxford-University United Methodist Church will be the Rev. Chris McAlilly, according to clergy sources.
McAlilly has been pastor at the sister churches of Brewer and Shannon United Methodist, in Shannon, Miss. He has a wife, Millie, and a son, Thomas, according to online information. He will replace Claire Dobbs, who will go on to a Gulfport church as senior pastor.
Rep. Steve Holland (16th District), from Tupelo, had only good things to say about McAlilly. When informed that McAlilly will join Rev. Eddie Rester at OUUMC, Holland said “that’s a good combo.”
“Chris might be the most dynamic young man in United Methodism in Mississippi,” he said. He’s erudite, he’s in your face in a nice way. He’s everybody’s favorite teddy bear.
He also referenced McAlilly’s family, which Holland said he has known “since time immemorial.”
“He’s from this wonderful long legacy of fabulous John Wesleyans,” Holland said. “I’ve believed in him since he was a little biddy tyke in Tupelo playing soccer.”
David Brevard, a Tupelo and Oxford businessman whose family owns B&B Concrete, joined Holland in his appreciation of McAlilly’s soccer abilities and leadership skills.
“Chris’s father took an appointment in Tupelo when Chris was in high school. Chris was well liked, very personable and an outstanding soccer player,” Brevard said. “He has the call to ministry in his genes and by all reports he has provided great service and leadership, which I am sure he will continue at OUUMC.
“Chris has a spiritual maturity well beyond his years and communicates well with young and older church members.”
Darrell Whitaker, the camp director at Camp Lake Stevens, said that McAlilly is a great person who has spoken at confirmation programs and adult conferences there.
“He is going to be a great leader here,” Whitaker said.
McAlilly’s father, the Rev. William McAlilly, is a United Methodist bishop in the Nashville area, including Memphis and Tennessee.
He was the superintendent of Mississippi’s Seashore District at the time of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
According to an official United Methodist website, listing his family history, the McAlillys have been Methodists for five generations and have served as clergy for four generations.
“I’m crazy about them all, but Chris is … what the United Methodist Church needs if it’s not to go extinct,” Holland said.
He added, “Chris is going to be perfect in that church, it’s one of our good churches.”
Fourth-generation Clergyman is New OUUMC Associate Pastor
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