Pastor Aretha V. Preston
Reverend Aretha V. Preston is the widow of the late Reverend Dr. Welborn A. Preston, Jr. She is the mother of three biological children (two daughters and one son) and the step-mother of three sons. Reverend Preston has two daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Born and raised in Texarkana, TX, she graduated from Texas High School in 1971 and received her BBA degree from Texas A & M University in 1974. She studied at Trinity Theological Seminary earning credits toward the requirements for a Master of Divinity Degree. Rev. Preston was licensed to preach in 2002 by Presiding Elder Sebron Isom. In 2004 she was ordained Deacon by Bishop Charles L. Helton, in 2006 ordained Local Elder by Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, and in 2007 ordained Traveling Elder by Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt.
In 1996 Pastor Aretha Preston assisted her husband, Reverend Dr. Welborn A. Preston, Jr. in founding the New Life CME Church in Hampton, VA. The ministry began in their home and two years later they purchased property that underwent several phases of renovation. Reverend Aretha Preston served as Assistant Pastor at New Life; Administrator for the New Life Learning & Childcare Center; Director of Project S.O.U.L (Save Our Underserved Learners), a tutoring and mentoring program; Coordinator of the Feeding Ministry which prepared 75 lunches for seniors and provided bags of groceries to approximately 200 families in the community monthly.
In July 2008, Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr. appointed Rev. Aretha Preston as Pastor of the Miles Bethel Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in La Crosse, VA where she served until 2016. After relocating to Austin in 2016 she was assigned as Clergy In Residence to Joshua Chapel CME Church for one year while on sabbatical. In 2017 Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick assigned Rev. Preston as pastor of Porter Memorial CME Church in San Antonio where she currently serves.
Pastor Preston currently resides in Austin, TX and her hobbies include ceramics, reading, traveling, and spending quality time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Rev. Robert Wheeler
Rev. Robert Lewis Wheeler, a 6th generation Christian Methodist Episcopal Church member, was born in Orange, Texas and spent his formative years at the St. Paul CME Church. He attended schools on the Orange ISD and graduated high school in 1967 from MB North High School, joined the Air Force and completed 22 years of military service. During this tenure he attended college, received BS in Systems Management, and MS Degrees in Quality Systems Management, while stationed in Alexandria, Louisiana. Rev. Wheeler believes in being a life-long learner and continued his education efforts to achieve MS certifications in various disciplines including Human Resources and Project Management.
In addition to serving his country, Rev. Wheeler remained a devoted servant leader in the CME Church. During his military career and while attending the Pentecostal Church, he received and accepted the call to Ministry in 1988. Six months later, he retired from military service, returned to his roots in Orange, Texas, reunited with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in January of 1989 and pursued his calling. In March of that same year, during the St. Paul CME Church Quarterly Conference, he received the license as a local Preacher. He was admitted on trial in the SE TX Annual Conference of 1989. In August 1991 Conference, 2 years later, he became an Ordained Deacon. He also met Rev. Kenneth E. McKindra, whom he served under for the next three years at the Porter Memorial CME Church in San Antonio, Texas. After becoming an Ordained Elder in 1994, he was assigned as Pastor of Porter Memorial CME Church until 1997. He was then given the charge to Pastor Joshua Chapel CME Church in Austin, Texas.
In 2004, Rev. Wheeler returned to Porter Memorial, once again, serving with Rev. McKindra until 2008 when he received a job transfer to Detroit, Michigan. During his job transfers, he remained faithful to his calling, and the CME Church. While in Detroit, he was associated with Turner Chapel CME Church in Mount Clemens and Pilgrim Temple CME in East St Louis, while stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
Rev. Wheeler is the proud parent of three children: Paquita Michelle Hanks, Robert Lloyd Wheeler and Andreanna Renee Wheeler. He is also the loving grandfather of Shelby Hanks, his granddaughter.