Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

November 26, 2013

Freese growing with CUMC congregation

COOKSON — Rudy Freese likes to try new things, and he’s willing to grow with his congregation. That’s why he enjoys being a pastor so much.

For 2-1/2 years, Freese has led the flock at Cookson United Methodist. He’s served at Quinton UMC, Canadian UMC and Leonard UMC.

“We are appointed by the bishop, but Cookson’s love for each other and acceptance of new people is a wonderful church trait,” said Freese, who holds a Master’s in Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.

His calling came as a young man – when he was 16 and at church camp.

As senior pastor, his responsibilities vary from people to practical matters.

“I oversee all the spiritual and business aspects of the church,” Freese said.

As a steward of the word of God, he finds a favorite scripture in Galatians 2:20: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Cookson UMC boasts an active congregation that enjoys missions, and members are willing to do what God leads them to, said Freese.

“We love God and want others to deepen their spiritual walk with us,” he said. “Our youth discuss tough topics in order to better prepare them for the daily faith walk. We have several small groups and Sunday school classes where people can build relationships and deepen their faith.”

Church members participate in several community outreach events, including a no-cost community Thanksgiving meal, and on Christmas Eve, three candlelight services at 5, 7 and 11 p.m. Advent begins Dec. 1.

Marsha Alexander, a General Board global missionary of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, receives support from the church. Some members will be going there on a mission trip during Spring Break 2014.

“We sent a team in September to Moore to work in tornado relief efforts there, and we plan to send a team to the Appalachia Mountains in 2014,” Freese said.

An important aspect of life and ministry for Freese is being married to wife Piper, whom he calls his “prayer warrior.”

They have two daughters: Lauren, 20, a sophomore at Northeastern State University, and Hayley, 15, a sophomore at Keys High School.

“My wife is my right hand; she runs the sound board and prepares the audio video portions of worship each week,” he said.

As far as living in this area, the scenic views around the lake and river appeal to the family.

“This is one of the most beautiful places on earth,” Freese said.

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