Burton excited to lead the flock at Tapp UMC

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By Allyson Pebsworth
Staff Reporter

July 1, 2016 marked the first day on the job for the new Senior Pastor at Tapp United Methodist Church in New Boston. Tommy Earl Burton, a Mount Pleasant native and second career pastor, proudly took the position which felt like a “homecoming” to Burton.
As a young child, Burton’s parents dove into the motel and apartments business, which he took over after marrying his wife Laura, who he met at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas. The Burton’s now have twin girls, Mandy and Sandy Burton, a son John Earl Burton, and a daughter Anna Faye Craig. Anna and her husband Matt just had Burton’s first grandchild, Laurali Marie Craig.
As a nature of the business, law enforcement interactions become a natural occurrence; Burton decided to join the police force, where he served reserve for three years, two in Franklin County and one in Titus County. He then went on to work as a full time officer in 1997 until he moved to the drug task force.
Working there for almost a year and a half, during a routine traffic stop Burton says, “God broke my heart. I was so consumed with law enforcement that I neglected my family.” God gave him a sign to leave the police force during that stop by letting him see his daughter playing at a nearby park and realizing he needed to be home with his family more.
“There is nothing wrong with being a police officer, I enjoyed it. We need them, I love them, I respect them, but for me God spoke to me and was calling me into the ministry.”
After attending a Walk to Emmaus, Burton got heavily involved in church, becoming the first paid youth pastor at his home church of St. Andrew UMC in Mt. Pleasant. Around four years later, Burton made the decision to attend Seminary at Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas.
Burton began his pastoral journey in 2005 at Reeves Chapel UMC in Pittsburg, Texas, before moving to an Associate Pastor’s position at William’s Memorial UMC in Texarkana. He then moved to Walnut Grove UMC and First UMC in Troup, Texas before making the move to New Boston to serve at Tapp UMC.
When speaking about how he feels the move has been so far, Burton stated, “This has been the best welcome that we’ve ever had. It’s a blessing to be appointed so close to home...this congregation is just so friendly and inviting. It’s been an amazing welcome. God is doing something really amazing here (Tapp).”
Church attendance has been pleasantly high for the summer months and Burton has high hopes and expectations that the number will continue to grow.
Tapp UMC is located on the east side of Highway 8 at 715 S. McCoy Blvd. in New Boston and can be reached at (903) 628-2381. Sunday worship begins at 10:30 a.m. with Sunday School starting at 9:15 a.m. and on Sundays and Wednesdays a youth fellowship is held at 6:30 p.m.


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