The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 11, 2013

New Salvation Army ministers no strangers to Oklahoma

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— The incoming ministers for Enid’s Salvation Army are no strangers to Oklahoma.

Captains Ernest and Debra Hull are coming from Lawton the week of June 17. Eight of their 13 years in ministry have been served in Oklahoma.

Both the Hulls grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and are lifelong Salvationists.

Ernest Hull said he worked eight years as a warehouse manager for a retail catalog company in Castleberry, Fla., and three years as a youth minister for The Salvation Army before he became ordained.

Debra Hull worked in a bank for several years, her husband said.

The Hulls lived in Florida 12 years before they both made the career change and entered ministry.

“We’re Southerners by grace,” Ernest Hull said.

They have been married 33 years and ordained together for 13 years.

“It’s kind of a late calling,” Ernest Hull said. “Actually, I was called a lot earlier, but I ran from the calling.”

Making a late entry wasn’t all bad, though, Ernest Hull said.

“Coming into it at the age I did, it gave me kind of an advantage in some maturity,” he said.

The Hulls’ first appointment was to Altus, where they served for three and a half years. From Altus, the Hulls were sent to Pine Bluff, Ark., where they spent the next four and a half years. In June 2008, the Hulls were appointed to Ardmore. Then in June 2010, they were sent to the Lawton Corps and Boys and Girls Club.  

It’s been a life of frequent moving.

“That is fairly typical,” Ernest Hull said. “Like the regular military, we get marching orders every three or four years.”

Hull said Enid’s Salvation Army has been well-operated under John and Geri Dancer’s hands, so he and Debra have no worries about what they will find. Still, the Hulls will look to improve service to Enid.

“Whenever we come into a community, we look to the needs of the community as a whole — the needs that are there — and see how we can better position Salvation Army to better serve the needs of the community,” Ernest Hull said.

The Hulls also are foster parents, and currently provide homes for three sibling foster children. Those children are expected to return to their biological parents before the Hulls move to Enid. However, the couple expect to continue serving as foster parents to other children when their move to Enid is complete.

June 23 will be the Hulls’ first Sunday at Enid.

“We’re excited about coming to Enid,” Ernest Hull said. “We are looking forward to the future God has planned for us.”