Minister retires after 12 years of reaching out to the poor of Ogden

Saturday , November 04, 2017 - 5:00 AM1 comment

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — At the First Baptist Church of Ogden, the Rev. Karl Dumas, spent 12 years ministering to the homeless.

In the summer, First Baptist runs a hot dog ministry. In the winter, it gives away mittens.

Now, after 12 years at the church, Dumas is retiring.

• RELATED: 'Hot Dog' Ministry brings community together with food

“I saw a street person come to him at his church,” said Rev. Lillie Holman of Integrity Christian Fellowship Church. “He knew him by name. He assisted him with grace and dignity.”

Dumas was the only white pastor ever invited to preach from the pulpit at New Zion Baptist, an African-American church — something that happened on several occasions, Holman said.

• RELATED: Ogden church gives warm scarves to those in need

Judy Doud, executive director of the Ogden Rescue Mission, said Dumas contributes much to those who stay there.

Dumas holds a weekly Bible study at the mission and preachers there once a month.

“Some have never been exposed to a Bible at all,” Doud said. “He’s very patient with them. He’s a very cool and calm person. He’s very reachable.”

When Dumas encouraged area churches to reach out to refugees settling in Ogden, many did, said Tammy Leake, executive director of the Christian-based Pregnancy Medical Clinic.

“Karl has helped us as the church to effectively reach out to the least of these by bringing to our attention the needs of people who are the most forgotten,” she said. “He understands what the Bible says about caring for our neighbors.”

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Leake also acknowledged Dumas for “leading the charge” to reach out to the people in downtown Ogden, his church’s neighborhood.

“Pastor Karl Dumas connects people for God's causes in the world, starting with his local Ogden neighborhood,” said Dr. David Rowe, administrator at The Vine Institute in Salt Lake City. 

“We have so appreciated his work with The Vine Institute in helping resource Ogden area ministries, especially regarding issues of cross-cultural ministry with refugees, immigrants and others,” Rowe said.

Dumas encouraged a handful of schools and businesses to support food banks, Operation Christmas Child and a clothing exchange.

Church member Robin Arguello said following Dumas’ lead, she went from a shy person who rarely spoke to others to developing an ability to approach strangers on their doorsteps and offer prayers for them.

“I never in a million years thought I would be doing that,” she said. “I even prayed with people on the streets. It was an awesome journey. ... I truly feel blessed to have had him in my life.”

Dumas told a story about a man who was angry when he was introduced to First Baptist Church by a friend.

“His words, expressions and body language all made it perfectly clear that he didn't want to be in my office,” Dumas recalled. “He had had enough of church people when he was younger, and wasn't anxious to repeat the experience.”

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But then the man saw an advertisement for an Easter service in the park on the church’s marquee.

“That seemed safe and so he showed up and stayed,” Dumas said. “Today, he is active in the church. For the past couple of years, he has prepared the service for Layman's Sunday, volunteers his time, is discipling another man in the church and spends some time at the Rescue Mission each week leading a Bible study.”

Dumas’ efforts have also included hosting a National Day of Prayer event on the steps of the Ogden City Municipal Building.

• RELATED: National Day of Prayer events invite interfaith prayer

His first activity upon retirement is hosting two weeks of classes on ministry ethics and Baptist governance in Northeast India.

A part-time minister, Dumas said he will continue in his other work as a corporate chaplain.

First Baptist is the only church where Dumas has worked as a congregation’s designated minister.

He graduated from Seminary in 2005 after filling in as pastor at First Baptist on many occasions. He officially was named pastor in the spring of 2006.

His previous life included work in psychiatric hospitals and service in the Air Force as a weapons controller, where he also held an assignment as a substance abuse counselor.

After retirement from the Air Force, he sold funeral plans and cemetery plots for a time.

Dumas said he’s not sure how he will serve Ogden in the future. He plans to follow God’s direction.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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