PIQUA — Westminster Presbyterian Church recently welcomed a new pastor to lead their congregation, one who drove from Anchorage, Alaska, to be here.
“I drove down from Anchorage and arrived in the first of October,” the Rev. Todd Allen said. “I joke it was 4,599.7 miles, and the .7 mile was the one that just broke me.”
Allen, who is originally from Ohio, graduated from Kenyon College in 1984 with dual degrees in political science and studio art.
“I was born and raised on the west side of Cleveland, so this is home for me,” Allen said.
Ministry is his second career, as he first spent about nine years as a marketing and advertising professional in New York City.
“And then I heard the call to make a change in life,” Allen said. He said that he felt the call gradually over time and that it was something into which he transitioned.
“It was a great choice for me,” he said.
He went to Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 1995 and received his master’s in divinity in 1998. He accepted an appointment on the southwest coast of Scotland for four years before returning to the U.S. to serve the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Akron. He has served at two other churches in Ohio as well as at churches in North Carolina and Minnesota.
“It’s been a really interesting journey because I’ve moved around a great deal, and pastors generally do,” said Allen, who has now spent over 15 years in ministry.
After staying with a church family, Allen now lives in the city.
“It’s nice to be able to walk to work,” Allen said.
As he begins his time at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Allen is currently in the process of connecting with members of his church, the community, and the Piqua Association of Churches as well as with the leaders in those areas and learning about their gifts.
“Certainly, the first thing a pastor does when they come in is they want to reconnect with folk who have disconnected, for whatever reason, from the life of the church, and that is certainly something that I am doing,” Allen said.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is also hosting the Community Good Friday service on March 30 from noon to 1:30 p.m. as part of a larger vision that Allen has of connecting with other churches in the area.
“Westminster is blessed with a great history,” Allen said. “There are some very active folk here, very committed to the community. There’s much we can do.”
Allen also expressed an interest in sharing resources with other churches.
“The days where every church can have its own youth group or every church can have this activity or that are probably not so common today because our numbers are not quite so great, but if we combine resources with other churches, often times that’s how you can make a much greater impact in the community, so that’s something I’m pursuing as well,” Allen said.
Currently, Westminster Presbyterian Church has a congregation of approximately 140 members.
Allen noted that they are also already sharing the resource that is their facility with other groups in the community for their meetings and events, like the Civic Band, Girl Scouts, AA, Weight Watchers, and more.
Overall, Allen has felt welcomed into Westminster Presbyterian Church, and he commended the members of the congregation.
“There’s been a very warm welcome for me,” Allen said. “There are some marvelous folk here who are very gifted, very committed, and we may be small in numbers now, but I hope that will grow over time.”
When he is not at the church, Allen aims to continue being involved in the community by going to local football games and attending events at the Piqua Public Library.
“I aim to be exploring the bike paths,” Allen said.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 325 W. Ash St., and church services are held Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336