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Longview pastor suspended after DWI arrest

By by Peggy Jones
April 24, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The senior pastor of one of Longview's oldest and largest churches has been suspended from duties after being arrested on a drunken driving charge.

John Logan "Jack" Matkin, pastor of Longview First United Methodist Church, was arrested April 19 in Smith County. He was released later in the day after posting $500 bond.

56-year-old Matkin has served as senior pastor of the church for the past two years, said Ed Moore, acting as spokesman for the church.

As chairman of the church administrative counsel, Moore said he and two other church lay leaders were told of the arrest April 19 by a representative of the bishop's office.

"It was our understanding that (Matkin) was coming home from a hunting trip," Moore said. "I was shocked. I think we were all shocked."

Paula Arnold, spokeswoman for the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church said Matkin was suspended for up to 90 days and will not perform any ministerial duties during that time.

The church congregation learned of the pastor's arrest during the Sunday service, delivered by district superintendent Rev. Bill Taylor.

"The first thing Bill Taylor did, during his sermon Sunday, was to give a positive message for us to go forward together and in a spirit of love and forgiveness," Moore said, "which I felt really good about after the sermon concluded. The congregation will take that to heart."

Matkin was at home with his family, church officials said.

Moore, a 32-year church member, characterized the congregation's reaction Sunday as one of shock.

Arnold said the church will offer counseling for church members who request it.

"This is hurtful for a lot of people, needless to say," she said.



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