Interim Pastor, Rick King

For Rick King, ministry in a local church has always been as much about the church's community involvement as it is about the church's own programs. Ministry happens through collaboration, because no church is an island. So he's gotten involved in the local community in every pastorate he's served, whether founding the Winona Area Poverty Roundtable in Minnesota, receiving a Boulder County Healthy Community Award (2011) for his work with the St. Vrain Safe Schools Coalition, a PFLAG Boulder County faith leader and LGBT Ally award (2013), or a Governor's Service Award in 2014 for his leadership in coordinating volunteers following the 2013 St. Vrain River flooding.

An Ohio native, Rick lives in Longmont with his wife, Linda Kopecky, and their three boys, Elijah, Samuel and Gabriel.  He has pastored churches for 28 years, and in other incarnations he's been a technical writer, teacher, homeless youth shelter worker, and massage therapist. Throughout his career, the common thread has been the human quest for wholeness, integrity, and authenticity, and how he can bring that to the communities he's served. 

As an interim minister, Rick has worked with United Church of Christ congregations in transition between pastors in places as varied as western North Carolina, the western Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, and German-heritage neighborhood churches on the north and northwest sides of Chicago--the latter two while practicing as a massage therapist and working in a homeless youth shelter on the north side of the city. He has served in settled ministry positions in a northwest suburban Chicago, multi-staff church, as a solo pastor in a small university town in southeast Minnesota, and as senior minister/head of staff in Longmont. 

Spending time doing just about anything with Linda and the boys helps him reconnect with his reason for living and restores balance to his life. He loves the outdoors, hiking and camping with them, sharing a love of music with Elijah, a love of writing with Samuel, and supporting Gabe's love of sports. Before Rick's right knee ended his running career, he even served Gabe's middle-school cross-country team as a volunteer assistant coach! The nest started to empty when Elijah started college last fall in Portland, OR. Rick and Linda have the good fortune to be one another's best friends, and agree that there's really no other person they'd rather spend time with amid their busy work and family life. 

In 2015, as part of a 3-month sabbatical, Rick delved more deeply into the crisis among young men ages 16-26 and the transition to adulthood and was fortunate to participate, with his family, in a pulpit exchange with a pastor in the UK during the month of July. Raising boys is one of the major reasons he chose the sabbatical topic: there's a personal dimension, not just a ministry focus. Parenting is a sacred trust, and to live out his vocation (wherever that may be), being authentic and attentive to his role as father and spouse is the foundation for being authentic and attentive to his role in the church and the wider community. He knows through experience that having his family as his first priority facilitates his dedication to being available, compassionate, and responsive to his congregation and community.