Reverend Ken Pierce retires after 47 years

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Reverend Ken Pierce and his wife have been in ministry for 47 years. Reverend Pierce retired recently with his last eight years being at First Church in Dayton, Tennessee.(KenPierce)

Pierce travels a road that included 19 churches along the way

June 2018

Dayton, TN —  Reverend Ken Pierce made Dayton Tennessee and First Church United Methodist Congregation, his last pastorate as he retired from the ministry with United Methodist after 47 years and 19 Churches.  Ken has wife Phyllis, three children(Angie, Emily and Aaron) and eleven grandchildren.  He has really enjoyed being close to family over these last few years and really has enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.  I am sure he will get to spend even more time with retirement.  He already has a part time job as cook for the Dayton City School football team’s concession stand for the upcoming year.  Rumor is, Ken can cook some pretty good hamburgers and hot dogs.  His son in law Paige Hughes is the DCS football coach.

First Church, Dayton Tennessee

Reverend Pierce began attending Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee, thinking he would go into agriculture field  or veterinarian field.  He became involved in group called “Life Service Group”, that went around to different churches and did youth retreats and similar things.  Ken before this had no thoughts of becoming a pastor.  A position opened up in Blaine County, Virginia for summer work.  When he went to ask about the camp work, the position fell through but he received an offer to pastor two small churches and his life’s passion of 47 years began at the age of 20 in 1973.  Those churches were in Bandy Virginia and Amonate Virginia.

Church in Amonate Virginia

Reverend Pierce was later married to wife Phyllis ion June 9, 1973.  He meet Phyllis because his father and Phyllis’s father and mother sang together.  They dated for four years before getting married.  When the couple returned from honeymoon, he went to preach at four churches(circuit churches) near Blacksburg, Virginia.  Reverend Pierce later went to Radford University and Ashbury Theological Seminary(1979 Grad).

Reverend Pierce was born in Galax, Virginia near the North Carolina border.  His father was a factory worker in a town well known for making furniture and for an annual fiddle convention.  Reverend Pierce is also a very good singer as is his wife.  His whole family sometimes gets together to sing.  Ken even made a record of gospel songs back in the days before CDs.

Galax Virginia

When asked about his first sermon, Ken said, “I really can’t remember the topic I talked about.  My basic personality is very shy.  I could sing in front of a crowd but I could not speak and look at the crowd.  That first sermon I thought “How am I going to do this.”  I was nearly scared to death.  But when I got up to start speaking, it was like the Lord took over and I did not feel nervous and I am thinking I cannot believe this and I am thinking “This is what God called me to do.””

“I could not believe when they called me to be the pastor of these two churches.”

“I was raised in the church, but never dreamed I would be called to be a pastor.  My father had always wanted to be a pastor but never felt the call to the ministry.  My father was so very pleased that God has chosen me to become a pastor.  I fulfilled his dream.”

“One of the hardest things for me to do as a young pastor was to juggle my time with school and do pastoral work.  I had a lot of visits to make to hospitals as well as revivals and other ministry work.”

Talking about being a young pastor beginning in the ministry.

“I was raised around a lot of older folks and as young pastor, I knew how to relate to older folks.  They have always been a blessing to me.  They would call me their “Little Preacher.”

“When we would begin working in a new church, we always had someone who took us around and introduced us to the church body.”

“Usually the circuit churches I pastored, began back in the horse and buggy days.  As time went on those churches formed circuits.  The community became less of isolated community.  So these were like on church body.  On Sunday night service people from all the churches in the circuit churches would attend one church.”

Reverend Pierce talked about the role his wife Phyllis played in the ministry.

“My wife Phyllis said there were two people she would never marry.  One was a doctor and the other was a preacher.  The Lord had to change her mind on that.  I feel like God had a calling on her life also.  She is a registered nurse but gave that up to be a pastor’s wife.  She has helped with youth, children, bible studies and has been very very supportive of the ministry.  She laid down her career to give to the family and the church.”

Talking about raising children in a pastor’s family.

“I think it was a very positive experience for them.  I had to learn very early in the ministry, that the family came first.  We tried to make church a fun thing for them.  They never said they don’t want to go to church.  At church they were with their friend.”

Ken expressed his excitement around the time at Dayton and the church working in the community and on mission trips.

“The Lord has blessed the church.  We have some great leaders here at First Church.  The Wednesday night program has been fantastic.  We have reached out into the community.  For the past six years we have gone on one and sometimes two mission trips.  We have spent time over seas to encourage people in the faith.”

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