Eighty-nine-year-old Gloria Box was one of the first people to show up to the home of Highland Park Presbyterian Church’s new pastor, the Rev. Bryan Dunagan, to help him unpack.
Just a few weeks later, Box, who’s been a member of the church since 1955, took muffins to Dunagan and his family to welcome them to the neighborhood.
She wasn’t the only one. Dunagan’s home was filled with pies and pastries from the church’s members in the weeks before his first sermon at the church. That hospitality resonated with Dunagan, who recently became only the seventh senior pastor in the church’s 88-year history.
“This community has been so gracious; they’ve tried to make it as easy as it can be for us,” Dunagan said.
The more-than-4,000-member church, founded in 1926, voted in late April to call Dunagan to be its new senior pastor. He follows the Rev. Joe Rightmyer, the church’s interim senior pastor, who stepped in after the Rev. Ron Scates resigned in May 2013 after serving as senior pastor for 13 years.
Born in Dallas, Dunagan said his new position feels like coming home. He preached in services at Highland Park Presbyterian for the first time Sunday.
As Dunagan transitions into his new role, Highland Park Presbyterian Church is transitioning into a new denomination.