Living the Adventure

Tribute to Oren Mulvany

A mentor, supporter, friend, and model in my life has moved from the weight of this world to the Church Triumphant. I first met Oren Mulvany when he was the Director of Maintenance at the United Methodist Village in the late 1980s. My Pa-Paw, Rev. Niles Stone, was the Chaplain at the Village after he retired and my Granny had passed away. I can remember going to Pa-Paw’s room in the basement of the Village and nearby there was a maintenance room where Oren would often be working. There was a great camaraderie between Oren and Pa-Paw that caused me to really respect Oren.

A couple years after our first meeting, Oren was the preacher for Epworth Junior Camp in Louisville, Illinois. He was responding to a call into ministry and he had been invited to preach. Even as an adolescent boy, I was drawn to Oren’s genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. His preaching was not theatrical or verbose—his preaching was simple and relatable just like his personality. I could tell he knew the subject of which he spoke—Jesus Christ.

Oren then became a classmate to my dad at Course of Study. They would room together and the year my Dad graduated from Course of Study School, my mom, brother, sister, and I traveled to Kansas City and Oren’s lovely wife, Lois, went with us. Through Dad’s relationship with Oren and our time spent with Lois, I became even more convinced that Oren was called by God to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to people as a pastor, shepherd, and preacher.

In 1996, Oren was one of the pastors present at Epworth Senior Camp. I was a “Junior Sponsor” for this camp. I was in transition from community college to university, and I had my plan established for my life to become a Biology Teacher. I was at camp to see friends and to encourage junior high and high school students. On the first night of camp I felt the power of the Holy Spirit working in my heart, calling me to a life change. The plans I had established for my life were not the plans God had established for me. I was feeling a calling into full-time ministry. I knew it, but I did not want to admit it. As I knelt at the altar, none of my friends gathered with me. I soon felt a hand on each of my shoulders and a voice in front of me. The voice in front of me was my dad asking me what was going on and the two hands on my shoulders belonged to Sam Totten and Oren Mulvany. Oren began to pray, “Lord, I pray that you would open Matt’s eyes to the path that you have laid out before him, and give him the courage to follow.” I wanted to turn around and tell Oren, “Shut-Up!”

After I got up from the altar and throughout the rest of the week, I spent time talking with pastors and church leaders at camp. Oren, along with other pastors, affirmed God’s call in my life. They knew God was calling me to ministry and they wanted to encourage me to follow wherever God would lead. In 2007, when I founded Living the Adventure Ministries, Oren and Lois were some of my first financial supporters. When I saw Oren, he told me he believed I was right where God had called me.

As I consider Oren’s life, I give God praise for a great man of God. I can only hope and pray that I will have the far reaching, eternal effect on people’s lives. Oren has introduced men and women to Jesus. His legacy and impression will last for many years to come and into eternity. Oren was a humble, genuine man who loved Jesus with all his life (heart, soul, mind, and strength). I am a better man because of that Maintenance Worker turned Pastor who took time to spend with a snot-nosed young boy who sought to follow Jesus.

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:7-8).