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Kensington Community Church Welcomes New Senior Minster Darryl Kistler

     Kensington Community Church welcomes the Rev. Darryl Kistler as its new senior minister.  For the past five years, the Rev. Kistler, 37, served as pastor of Community Congregational Church in Kalispell, Montana, where he tripled average attendance, led the congregation through a vision process, prioritized the church’s online presence and use of technology in worship, and created and led a multi-faith youth group.

     “This is such an exciting new beginning for me and the church,” said Pastor Darryl. “I believe that KCC can be an inclusive, progressive community of faith that inspires people to live out a dynamic and grounded spirituality that helps us be kinder, loving people.  And we can work to make the world a better place – which is really what all this church stuff is about.”

     “Pastor Darryl is an exuberant, down-to-earth spiritual leader,” said Jodi Cleesattle, KCC’s moderator. “Progressive, tech-savvy and fun, he is definitely not an old-school minister. His passion and energy are undeniable, his gift to communicate and relate to others is incredible, and he has a tremendous sense of humor. He will be a leading voice as we become a church for the next generation – and for every generation.”

A Passion for Social Justice and Peace

     At his previous church, the Rev. Kistler worked with other spiritual leaders to create a Multi-Faith Coalition, bringing 14 different faiths together to meet monthly and share resources. His passion for social justice and peace led him to develop a group called “Love Lives Here,” which held anti-racism, pro-diversity rallies in response to Neo Nazi activity in the community. The Rev. Kistler has held a series of ministerial roles for the past 11 years, including four years at The United Christian Church in Miles City, Montana and three years as the chaplain and an instructor at Heidelberg University in Ohio, where he taught courses in political science, philosophy, ethics and religion and coordinated the Office of Campus Ministry.

     The Rev. Kistler earned his Masters of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Before entering the seminary, he graduated with degrees in political science and history from the University of Texas in San Antonio.

A New Beginning for KCC

     KCC called the Rev. Kistler to serve as its new, settled minister after an extensive, 18-month search. His arrival marks a new beginning for the church, which has achieved progress and growth over the past three years. During that time, the church voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, or welcoming to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community as well as to people from all walks of life. It also established Safe Church policy to provide a safe environment and promote the wellbeing of all.

     After hiring a full-time Religious Education Director, the church has developed a vibrant Religious Education program, including Adult Education classes, a Youth Group, Sunday School, Confirmation classes and Vacation Bible School. In September 2011, the church rededicated its newly remodeled, eco-friendly sanctuary, featuring the restoration of its large, stained-glass Good Shepherd window overlooking Marlborough Drive. The church has made a host of technology upgrades in the sanctuary and Lander Hall. This year it launched a new website, which shows how Kensington Community Church is a vibrant and inspiring place to believe, belong, and become. 

     Founded in 1929, KCC engages heavily in mission work around San Diego – for example, helping provide stockings and presents for more than 1,200 low-income children and families at the annual Copley YMCA Christmas Party. A hub for the neighborhood, the church hosts an annual pancake breakfast on Memorial Day weekend, a Halloween carnival and an Easter egg hunt and enables more than 30 self-help and community organizations to meet regularly in its facilities. For more information about the church, visit www.kensingtonucc.com or call (619) 284-1129.

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