Wesley Heights United Methodist Church recently welcomed the Rev. John Purdue as the church’s head pastor.
While he is new to the area himself, Purdue does have family here as he is the brother of Tullahoma resident and former First United Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Paul Purdue.
Purdue said although he’s only been in town for a little more than a month, he likes what he seen so far of Tullahoma and has found everyone welcoming.
Purdue grew said it was his Baptist youth group that gave him the inspiration to enter the ministry.
“I grew up in a Baptist church that was in every way, boring and plain,” he said. “At any one time there were 30 kids in the youth group. In the time I was in the youth group, there were 120 kids. Statistically, you would think that at least one, maybe two of all those kids would go into the ministry, but seven did. I don’t know what it was. We were all pretty different. The church did a lot of mission trips, the pastor was great, but there was just something about that church that pushed folks towards the ministry.”
While attending seminary in Kentucky, Purdue went in search of a denomination to join following graduation.
“While in seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention got a lot more conservative than I liked,” he said. “I knew I didn’t want to go that route. So, I made a list of 33 different denominations, then I cut it down to 11, then I cut it down to three. The three were Episcopal, Evangelical Free and Methodist. I sent out my resume to all three types of churches and I got hired quickly by the Methodist church. I was a youth pastor for three years.”
After pastoring at church in Texas, Purdue moved to Crossville to be closer to his father, who had fallen into poor health.
Once in Crossville, Purdue made another big move that would find him leaving the Methodist Church.
“Around three years ago I was presented with the opportunity to move to a community church,” he said. “It was a fantastic church. But I knew that I would miss the other Methodist pastors.”
Purdue explained that once a pastor leaves the Methodist church, they typically don’t come back. However, after he met with the area superintendent and bishop, he was welcomed back into the church.
His welcome came with a new assignment that would bring him to Tullahoma as the new pastor at Wesley Heights.
Purdue said he loves his job and the flexibility it offers that allows him to make the most of each day.
Wesley Heights United Methodist Church is located at 2101 E. Lincoln St. in Tullahoma.