If we have not yet met, I am Rev. Dr. Bill Ekhardt and on August 28, I begin serving Westminster as interim associate pastor, a 60% or .6 FTE position. I am excited to begin serving and look forward to our time together as the congregation seeks its next associate. The Human Resources committee is considering changes to the associate pastor position and they are implementing some of those ideas in the interim period. I will be primarily focused on church administration serving as a chief of staff. I will oversee human resources and coordinate our staff to meet our church wide goals and initiatives. In addition, I will regularly participate in worship and preach once a month. This will free our senior pastor for pastoral care and community outreach.
Though I am new to this position I am not new to Westminster. I have been a volunteer parish associate at Westminster since 2007. I have led the senior high, taught adult education, preached and led worship. I will continue the work I have been doing as volunteer parish associate by teaching our confirmation class on Sunday mornings and working with youth on Wednesday nights. We intend for me to continue this work when the next associate is called.
In the last decade, many of you have gotten to know me, my wife Tracy and my kids, Asher (seventh grade), Indy (sixth), Liam (fifth) and Miles (third). However, you may not be familiar with my service as a pastor before we came to Westminster. I grew up in a pastor’s family and have known church ministry from the inside since I was a child. In 1998 I graduated from Fuller Seminary, was ordained and began serving as associate pastor at Tokyo Union Church in Tokyo, Japan. Next I served as associate pastor then acting head of staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fresno, California. Finally, I served as pastor of Glendale Presbyterian Church, a predominantly African American church in Dallas, Texas. In 2006, we moved to Des Moines and I stepped out of paid ministry to be a stay-at-home dad and to support Tracy in her call as a pediatric intensive care physician at Blank Children’s Hospital.
While at home, I finished my Doctor of Ministry in 2009 then earned an MBA from University of Iowa in 2014. In 2013 I stepped in emergently to serve as a remote, volunteer Associate Executive Director and internal MBA consultant leading the business and strategic side of ministry at Calvin Crest Conferences, a $1.6 million Presbyterian camp and conference center next to Yosemite, California. Through God’s providence, Calvin Crest was financially stable enough in 2016 for me to step out of my staff role. I continue to serve as a treasurer and board member. I also helped start and continue to serve on the board of Dance Without Limits, a local nonprofit providing ballet education for students with special needs like my daughter, Indy.
My connection to our congregation, my education and my experience suit me well as I begin this interim position on the business, or administrative side of our church’s ministry. I am honored to be offered the opportunity to serve and look forward to continuing to be a part of what God is doing in and through us at Westminster.
In Christ’s love,