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Northeast News

Temple Terrace church leader embraces diversity

jmckenzie@tampatrib.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:25 AM
TEMPLE TERRACE -

Typically fun-loving and vivacious, Cindy Kocher was neither as she lay in her hospital bed pondering her recent diagnosis of lung cancer, a disease often portrayed as a pending death sentence.

Her body was weak and her spirit was gloomy, unlike the vibrant personality for which her friends and associates hold in such high regard.

Her entire demeanor, however, changed the moment the Rev. St. Clair Moore, senior pastor of the Temple Terrace United Methodist Church, entered the room.

"By the time he left I knew I would be healed. His prayers and his presence were phenomenal," said Kocher, a 20-year member and leadership council chairwoman of the church, 5030 E. Busch Blvd. in Tampa, just outside the city limits of Temple Terrace.

Kocher, who has watched several other ministers come and go, describes Moore as a "brilliant pastor who should be on television."

"His knowledge of the Bible is extraordinary and he's able to connect the dots on how we should live our lives according to how it's written in the Bible," said Kocher, also a longtime Temple Terrace resident.

Moore, a native of Barbados in the West Indies, was born in 1963 and moved to New York City in 1963. He earned his bachelor's degree from Clark Atlanta University and his master's of divinity degree from Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Prior to coming to Temple Terrace United Methodist, he served two churches in New York City and one in Bradenton.

Married to his wife, Yvette, and the father of three sons, Moore describes himself as "an extroverted, compassionate individual who deeply cares for persons who are in need of God and in need of support."

And being true to himself and his heritage are also qualities he values in himself.

Moore noted that from what he's observed he is the only head pastor in the greater Temple Terrace community who is of a minority race.

"In our church we embrace diversity and our differences with love," he said. "This church is uniquely authentic and transformative."

Lay leader Keven Woodard, a member Temple Terrace United Methodist Church for 35 years, refers to Moore as a "dynamic leader."

"The thing that attracts me to him most is his heart for God," Woodard said.

He's also impressed with how Moore, who's served at the church for five years, has reached out to people in the immediate neighborhood, an area mainly comprised of low income families.

"For a long time I felt that the people around us needed Christ even more than most of us," Woodard said.

Moore has enacted Sunday evening services for college-age students and young adults, and initiated discipleship classes on Wednesday nights.

"He's reaching out to people who have issues they are dealing with and those who are seekers," Woodard said. "He's broken a lot of barriers and he's brought a progressive style that has helped us mature as a church."

Its Sunday morning schedule consists of a contemporary worship hour at 9:30 a.m. followed by a traditional service at 11 a.m. Call (813) 988-9373 for more information.

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