Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus has led the St. John’s United Methodist Church since 1992. In this brief span of time the couple has transformed the spiritual landscape and the face of poverty in Downtown Houston. Beginning with 9 existing members in 1992, St. John’s has grown to over 9,000 members (3,000 of the total either are or were formerly homeless) in seventeen years into one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country where every week people of every social and economic background share the same pew. They attribute the success of the church to a compassionate congregation who has embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism and building the bridges of unconditional love, and universal recovery.
Rudy and Juanita co-founded the Bread of Life, Inc. (a not for profit corporation) in December of 1992 and began serving dinner to the homeless in the sanctuary at St. John’s. Seventeen years later the Bread of Life has become a lighthouse of love providing an array of services to homeless men and women seven days a week in the Daybreak Community Health Center on the campus.
Thanks to a generous donation from Kelly Rowland and Beyonce Knowles of the pop singing group Destiny’s Child, the campus includes the $1.2 million Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, an exciting, multipurpose recreational complex for youth in our community.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, efforts began to construct Phase I of the $4 million Temenos Place Apartments. The housing development is the result of collaborations with House of Dereon founders Tina Knowles and Beyonce Knowles – The Survivor Foundation. and the City of Houston. The project is a 43 unit Single Room Occupancy development designed to provide permanent living accommodations for women and men who are taking significant steps in improving their lives after the traumatic effects of personal and natural disasters.
Pastor Rudy is the author of a new book entitled “ Touch: Pressing Against the Wounds of a Broken World” which profiles his unique brand of faith sharing and radical hospitality and a new music project (the book’s sound track) entitled “The Pastor Rudy Experience”on Spirit Rising Music. Rudy also contributes monthly to “O The Oprah Magazine” in the “What Do I Do Now?” column and Epitome Magazine’s“Ask Pastor Rudy” column.
Rudy and Juanita have been married for 24 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, Morgan and Ryan.