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United Methodist welcomes pastor

WARREN — The Rev. Ken Kelley had just retired at the end of June as minister at Church Hill United Methodist Church in Liberty when he started July 1 as the new minister at Tod Avenue United Methodist Church in Warren.

Kelley, who said he enjoyed his six years at Church Hill United Methodist, said with 28 years in ministry, it was time to retire. However, that retirement did not last long as he became the new pastor at the Warren church.

“I was ready to retire. Everything was going well and I felt it was a good time to retire. I retired from one church this summer and then went right to the other church,” Kelley said.

Kelley said for Methodist churches, new appointments often begin July 1.

Kelley replaced the Rev. Rick France, who retired from the Tod Avenue church in May.

“I was very impressed at how kind the people are here. When I arrived here they were doing in-person worship with social distancing. They had everything ready to go when I got here. What they had in place kept everyone safe while making it nice for the congregation to be together. Everyone respected that,” he said.

The church pews are marked and people know where to sit and how Communion is done.

Kelley said Church Hill United Methodist was also closed from March to May.

“I was raised in the church and drifted away for awhile and then came back. I had a calling in my heart to be a pastor,” he said.

Kelley went to Ashland Theological Seminary for his master’s degree. He has been a member of the East Ohio Conference of Methodist Church for his 28-year career.

“It makes it uniform and no church goes without a pastor. All churches are trying to find a new normal with the current times we are in,” he said about pastors starting new appointments on July 1.

Kelley said at a recent church board meeting, there was discussion on the community breakfasts that were held on Sunday mornings.

“Right now the breakfasts are on hold because of the coronavirus. There is a lot of good energy from the church when they hold the breakfasts. They are discussing when they can restart them again,” he said.

While the church sanctuary, meeting rooms and offices are on the second floor of the building, the Warren Family Mission is on the first floor.

On Sundays is when most of the church activities take place, but there is also a men’s group that meets at local restaurants on Wednesday mornings.

“I look forward to seeing what decisions the members make for the future of the church,” Kelley said, noting the church has more than 60 members.

Kelley, who lives in McDonald, said his wife, the Rev.Vicky Kelley, is minister at Girard First United Methodist Church.

“We work on our sermons together. We talk about the ministry of the churches together. We give each other information and share ideas for our sermons,” he said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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