Introducing Our New Senior Pastor

As you know, Jim and Greta McDonald have announced that they will be retiring at the end of June 2018.  We will miss them greatly.  After knowing this, with input from our church, Bishop Sally Dyck, District Superintendent Dick Wisdom and the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) Cabinet diligently worked to find the next Senior Pastor for our church.  These same people are now diligently working to find an Associate Pastor for our church. 

Bishop Dyck and the NIC Cabinet have prayerfully discerned that Rev. Claude R. King Sr. be appointed to serve as the Senior Pastor of First UMC Downers Grove for the following missional reasons: excellence in preaching and worship, creativity in developing outward focused ministry, passionate spirituality, and a deep love for God and God's people.

Pastor Claude is an ordained Elder and lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.  He received his BA in Sociology with an emphasis in Anthropology from Chicago State University. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.   He has served as Pastor and Associate Pastor at a variety of churches in Chicago, including the Chicago Temple, in Glen Ellyn, and is presently serving as Pastor of the Olympia Fields UMC.  Several of these appointments were in large multi-staff churches.  He is a practitioner in teamwork and a bridge builder as head of staff in the local church.  Rev. King also serves on the UMC-NIC Board of Ordained Ministry; this Board is responsible for guiding clergy candidates through the ordination process, including interviewing and recommending all candidates who are seeking to be fully ordained as ministers in the NIC-UMC. 

Pastor Claude is married to Denise King a former Chicago Public School Head Start teacher. They have a son and a daughter.  Claude, Jr., who has a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, is working at the Children's Research Triangle in Chicago.  He plans to marry his fiancée, Taylor, later this year.  Ashley, who holds a Master's degree in Communications and Social Media, has recently worked in the overseas marketing department at the Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles.

Pastor Claude is a passionate leader in worship, preaching and teaching the Word of God, and administering the sacraments.  He empowers the church and participates in connecting with the community to reach those who are not "here yet," helping those who are at great risk and are underserved.  Pastoral care and spiritual counseling are also a core part of his ministry.

Rev. Claude King and Denise are looking forward to getting to know the staff, leaders, members, families and friends of First UMC, Downers Grove as their new Senior Pastor.  Pastor Claude says, "It is a blessing from God to be part of this historic church family!"

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