On January 23, 2021 Pastor Gary Hicks died after a brief battle with cancer. In addition to his roles as pastor at Brook Hill United Methodist Church and as a husband, father, and grandfather, Gary was a friend to the Mission and many of our guests. He was the founding pastor of Downtown Christian Fellowship, a local congregation open and welcoming to all. Many of the attendees were those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Mission Outreach Coordinator Teri Kwiatek worked closely in ministry with Gary since 2014. “We experienced seven years of praying, talking, meeting, laughing, crying, and wrestling with how to do ministry with deeply hurting people,” she says. “Our mantra was ‘ministry is messy’ and we embraced it together.”
“Gary was a raging river of God’s grace,” continues Teri. “He made sure that the love of God flowed through him into the lives of others. He loved sharing the gift of God’s riches with others in tangible ways. He didn’t just talk about God’s grace – he was convicted to make every decision and action an extension of God’s grace.”
Here are some comments from those he ministered to at the Mission and at Downtown Christian Fellowship:
- Gary was like a Father figure to me. He saw something in me. We rode around together and he fed me, not only physically but spiritually. He imparted a lot of wisdom on our rides together. – David
- I can never pay you back for all that you did for me, but I will pay it forward. – Annette
- He was like a Father figure to me, and if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today – out of homelessness and attending church. – Heather
Gary is deeply missed here at the Mission. But his legacy as a champion of the least, the last, and the lost will live on.