The Rev. Hunter Ruffin has been hired as the church planter for Parker County. In early March the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church approved a $100,00 grant to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth for a church plant in Parker County. Parker County is the site of Walsh, the new development west of Fort Worth on what was the Walsh Ranch. It is currently the largest buildout in the United States. Ruffin will begin work in early June.
The grant is contingent on the hiring of a trained church planter, the use of a coach as the project develops, and matching funds raised by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The core of the church planting team will be the St. Francis Episcopal Church congregation in Parker County, led by Ms. Marti Fagley.
The New Life Fund: Growing in New Ways Campaign to raise the matching funds of $200,000 over two years – to support this church plant and six other growth opportunities around the diocese – will be launched at a dinner with the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, at 6 pm on Friday, April 7, at Colonial Country Club.
“We are so pleased to welcome Father Ruffin to Parker County. And we invite all who are interested in working on this church plant to join us in this exciting adventure,” said Fagley.
The church plant grant is one of several from The Episcopal Church to the diocese. This graphic illustrates the flow of the grant money:
Ruffin comes to the Diocese of Fort Worth from Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, to which he was called after seminary. From 2015 to 2017, Ruffin served as the associate for Mission and Outreach for St Michael and All Angels, one of the largest parishes in the country. In addition, Ruffin served as a bishop’s warden for The Gathering, a homeless ministry in downtown Dallas.
Ruffin approaches church planting through the lens of entrepreneurship rather than the traditional formal church plant.
“The hiring of Father Ruffin is another example of this diocese’ willingness to look at new ways of doing things. Before, a diocese might secure land, put a building on it, and hope people would come. But growing a church plant more organically makes sense in today’s world. Father Ruffin brings the talents and strengths we need in this place at this time,” said Bishop Scott Mayer.
Ruffin grew up as an Episcopalian and spent his formative years in Mississippi. In 2004, he graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s of the Arts in History and Foreign Language & Literature and went to work for the American Red Cross in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Ruffin worked for the American Red Cross for 15 years serving communities in Mississippi and Florida. During his tenure with the Red Cross, he attended Florida Atlantic University and completed a Master’s of Business Administration in International Business and Finance.
In 2012, Ruffin began his theological studies at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. As a seminarian, he served the parish of All Saints Episcopal Church in Austin and as the research assistant for the New Testament scholars, the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, ThD, and the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson, PhD. He also served as the assistant to the vice president for communications, chaired the Black History Month committee, and served on the Diversity Committee for the seminary.
In addition to loving the work of ministry in and through The Episcopal Church, Ruffin has a deep love for reading all sorts of books and articles, laughing out loud while watching and performing improv comedy, water breaks while training for half marathons, and hanging out with his favorite dog, Shelby.