A pastor of one of the oldest churches in Longview is now on suspension after he was arrested in Smith County for driving while intoxicated.
Ed Moore, the First United Methodist Church spokesperson in the matter, said Senior Pastor John “Jack” Logan Matkin has been relieved of his duties for the time being.
Matkin was arrested by Department of Public Safety troopers on April 18 and confined in the Smith County Jail until he made bail about 5:40 a.m. April 19 on a charge of driving while intoxicated/with open container.
DPS Spokeswoman trooper Jean Dark said Matkin was traveling eastbound on Interstate 20 when he was stopped at mile marker 546 after several traffic violations.
Trooper Dark said Matkin failed to yield and obey the law concerning moving over for an emergency vehicle on the side of the roadway.
Texas law requires motorists to slow down and move to a lane away from emergency vehicles on the side of the roadway.
“He did not move over for another trooper that had a vehicle stopped and he drifted onto the shoulder,” she said.
Trooper Dark said trooper Steven Hodge made the traffic stop on Matkin about 11 p.m. and took the 55-year-old pastor into custody.
It was not immediately clear if Matkin’s vehicle came close to striking the trooper that was making the original traffic stop on the shoulder.
“He has been suspended by the bishop from his ministerial duties for up to 90 days,” Moore said.
The Bishop of the Texas Annual Conference, Janice Riggle Huie, not only suspended Matkin, but placed the activities of the church under the direction of the associate pastors, Rhett Ansley and Mike Schutz.
Moore said Matkin was appointed to the church in June 2010 as the church’s senior pastor.
Moore said most of the church body did not learn of the incident until this past Sunday when the district superintendent, Rev. Bill Taylor, led the services.
“It just came to light for most of the church and most of the congregation is still in shock. But we are a strong congregation and we will get through this,” Moore said.
In a press release from the Texas Annual Conference Bishop Huie stated the district superintendent, the conference and the church staff are working very closely to assure that First United Methodist Church continues to serve its members and the Longview community.
Updated Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:14 a.m. CDT