A Letter from Pastor John Keeny

March 11, 2021

A Letter to the Church from Pastor John Keeny

Grace to you and peace!

As I reflect on my retirement this coming June after 46 years in the ministry, I recall all my appointments.  My first was to Middletown Faith as an associate pastor.  In my first month I exhausted all that I learned in three years of seminary.  My greatest learning was discovering how much I didn’t know.  In Middletown, as in all my appointments, I realized how patient and forgiving the members are.  After Middletown I served rural and urban churches in Camden, Columbus, Dayton, and Middletown again with a detour as superintendent of the Dayton South District.  

For fourteen years I have been so proud to be part of King Avenue’s ministry.  When I was introduced to the Staff Parish Relations Committee in the fall of 2005, there were many questions concerning my acceptance of LGBT persons.  After assuring the members of my acceptance, I asked, “Would they be accepting of me?” The question threw the committee.  After much debate, they agreed they would.  (I made up the part about debate, but that kind of humor is what people must accept about me.) You have accepted me.  Here I have felt the freest to be myself.  At King Avenue I can be who I am and who I feel God created me to be.  In this congregation I experienced the grace which Paul desired for his congregations.  It is such a gift.  

When I came here in July of 2006, the church had just completed the commitment stage of the capital campaign to renovate the sanctuary and build the new organ. The campaign was well led by Bob and Nancy Heber who represented a membership committed to the future of King Avenue during a change of ministers.   We have been so blessed by the fruits of that campaign.  In the summer of 2006, I came to a King Avenue that was well positioned and equipped for moving forward into the future.  I was so grateful for the vision of which I was a beneficiary.

This is why I wholeheartedly support the comprehensive campaign this fall.   While I won’t bore you with retirement goals and plans, my goals for the next 9 months are to continue leading King Avenue on our spiritual journey and, also with your help, position and equip King Avenue to move into God’s gracious and exciting future with the leadership of the next senior pastor. 

King Avenue has been the best suited appointment for me.  You are the congregation I dreamed of serving when I was in seminary.  You are a sanctuary of grace, inclusion, and acceptance.  You are the body of Christ representing God’s love in fellowship and mission. You are a place of joy and hope for all people.  You also take joy and hope beyond this place to the community and world.  You offer God’s grace and peace to all. You share the gift.  King Avenue is the high note on which all ministers should be privileged to retire.

Hope you are safe and well. 
– John