Rev. deVega is very excited about being here, though. He said, "St. Paul's congregation worships very well. We have some outstanding musical groups which help lead worship, great attendance and a lot of energy. St. Paul's has a very rich history. Next year, we will be celebrating our 150th year as a congregation. We are very close to finishing the renovation of our sanctuary, a $750,000 project which started several years ago. This is a great accomplishment, and will provide momentum as we think about the future of the church." The church will be hosting their annual Pork Feed on Sunday September 30, from 11:30 - 1:30, with homemade side dishes and desserts. A free-will donation will be taken, and all proceeds will go to the finishing of the sanctuary project.
Rev. deVega feels that God is calling all churches to three purposes - "to transform life, by the grace of God; to repair broken relationships of all kinds; and to change the community and the world." He feels the St. Paul members have "great potential" to meet this call, and has put together a team to "listen to God's call for the future of the church." The team has their first meeting this week.
deVega, 34, is the son of a Filipino emigrant who brought his wife to the United States in 1970. He is obviously proud of his father, whom he feels "typifies the American dream." He came to the U.S. jobless and virtually penniless, but found employment as a chemical engineer in Florida, and is still employed at the same company today. Rev. deVega was born in Ft. Lauderdale and has lived in Florida his entire life, with the exception of his three years of seminary training in Dayton, Ohio.
For the last seven years, deVega has served as the associate pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist Church , a congregation with 2000 members, located in downtown Tampa. He views his time at Hyde Park as an excellent "laboratory" which allowed him to develop his skills as a minister, and make him the minister he is today.
Reverend deVega and his wife Jessica actually came to Iowa because Jessica, who earned her Ph.D in Religion from Florida State University in 2006, accepted employment as a Professor of Religion at Morningside College. They have chosen to live in Cherokee, and Jessica makes the commute to Sioux City to work. The couple have two daughters. Grace, 6, is in the first grade at Roosevelt Elementary and Madelyn, 4, attends classes at the ECLC.