Meet the pastor: Pastor prefers small-town life

Kelly Fulfer is the pastor at Trinity Family Center at 601 South Avenue B. Kelly, his wife Elizabeth and their four children moved to Portales 3 1/2 years ago after previously serving seven-and-a-half years as a pastor in Bernalillo. Originally from Mountainair, Kelly met Elizabeth in her hometown of Truth Or Consequences.

Because of the name, do you find you have to explain that Trinity Family Center is actually a church?

Yes. Most people think it’s like a community center or a medical center; it’s kind of funny that way. I would really like to change the name to Trinity Assembly of God. It’s the oldest (Assembly of God) church in the New Mexico district and it used to be First Assembly of God. Still, that’s what people know it as. People will ask me where I’m the pastor at and I’ll tell them Trinity Family Center. They’ll say, ‘Where’s that?” I tell them its the old First Assembly of God and it’s, ‘Oh, I grew up in that church.’”

What got you interested in being a pastor?

God had a call in my life ever since I was a child. I was not aware of it, per se, until I was about 23. I had good people help me understand that going to church was not just something you go to once a week to sit. It’s actually a place to participate.

Did you play sports in Mountainair while in high school?

I didn’t have a whole lot of time for sports, but I did play football. My senior year we won a state championship (1990) and I was an all-state defensive end. So, as far as sports goes, that was probably the highlight.

How’d you like working in Bernalillo (located just north of Albuquerque)?

You know, I loved the church there and loved the people. But the big city, I didn’t grow up in. I grew up hunting and trapping and fishing and I really didn’t want to raise my kids on the pavement so much.This is much larger than Mountainair, but it still has a small-town mentality. People are more laid back and not as transient as a large community, where people come and go.

What’s your favorite meal?

I love soft tacos. My wife makes it, although not enough. Any Mexican food really – I’m not picky. We eat lots of chile.

Do you have a favorite place you like to vacation?

As part of missionary work we used to do, we would go down into Mexico and then come back up to Elephant Butte to camp. My wife is from T or C, so she grew up in the water.

— Compiled by PNT staff writer Eric Butler