Horizon Society Spotlight: The Rev. Dr. W. Kenneth Williams, CRDS '76

After The Rev. Dr. W. Kenneth Williams graduated from CRCDS in 1976, he completed additional graduate work in Christian Ethics at Emory University’s Graduate School of Religion. In 1977, his pastoral career commenced in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he was Associate Pastor to the late Rev. James M. Dick, (CRCDS ’54). He moved on to Chicago in 1981 where he served as Pastor of the Hyde Park Union Church. IN 1984, The Baptist Temple in Rochester called Ken as Pastor. His return to Rochester would anchor him for the next 31 years and in three distinct roles. In addition to more than 11 years at Baptist Temple, he served five years as Regional Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches of the Rochester/Genesee Region, and for more than 14 years as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rochester. After their two children, Erin and Adam, were of age, Ken’s wife, Brenda accepted a role in the Development Office of Colgate Rochester Crozer, promoted to Director of Development in her time of service.

Ken’s story of pastoral service is also a profoundly human story of loss and gain and the spiritual insights that come from both. Brenda died after a long walk with cancer in 2009. Subsequently, Ken married the Rev. Peg Nowling, one of Brenda’s best friends. Early in her career, Peg was Pastor of the South Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, a congregation that sold its building and became, for a time, the worshipping community at Colgate Rochester Crozer. Peg also became a member of the Adjunct Faculty, teaching the course in Baptist Polity through the years. Peg has served an Associate Pastorate at the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, Ohio, and as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lafayette, Indiana.

Life has not slowed for Ken and Peg in retirement. Peg is a certified specialist in Intentional Interim Ministry and has given leadership to two congregations: First Baptist Church of Penfield, NY, and Community United Church of Christ in Raleigh, NC. Ken has served as Interim Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, working alongside another CRCDS alum, the Rev. Kevin Butler (CRDS ’89), now of blessed memory. Ken has also provided interim pastoral care to the Baptist Temple in Rochester. He writes frequent reflections on Facebook that he calls Monkish Morning Musings.

CRCDS has played a demonstrable role in the foundation of Ken and Peg’s careers, and in shaping the nature of their ministries. They cite four reasons they desire to leave a legacy, however large or small, to CRCDS:

  • gratitude for education that opened justice-oriented service and life-long learning for Ken.
  • the opportunity for Peg, as a pioneering woman in ministry, to share her hard-earned wisdom in her teaching role in Baptist Polity.
  • remembrance of Brenda's partnership in ministry with Ken and Brenda’s loyalty to CRCDS (Brenda has the distinction of honorary alumna of the Baptist Missionary Training School).
  • a statement of confidence that the traditions in which Ken trained, and by which he and Peg have grown, will shape ministry focused on the Beloved Community for generations to come.

Editors Note:

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Posted by David Riddell at 18:49