VALPARAISO | On Saturday, Rev. Dave Kovalow-St. John will celebrate 20 years of service as pastor of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.
"Twenty years at one church is a long time," Kovalow-St. John said. "And at our church the congregation chooses the pastor, not a bishop."
Kovalow-St. John reflected on the past 20 years and said everything has been positive.
"We managed to build a new sanctuary, have added a co-pastor Victoria Ubben," he said. "What amazes me is that the congregation is growing up. Everyone was a father figure and now they all seem like brothers and sisters to me, age-wise."
Kovalow-St. John said the church has been a wonderful family to him and his own family: his wife, Dr. Karen Kovalow-St. John, and their three daughters, Christy, Julia and Leeann.
What has kept him there is that he enjoys the ministry.
"I love being a part of that family," Kovalow-St. John said. "People are very loving to me and I'm very lucky where God put me in the congregation."
He said this church is a good fit for him because he's comfortable with the priorities: serve Christ as Savior and Lord; manifest in outreach for the community and find unity in diversity.
"We proudly accept others as our brothers and sisters in Christ and we don't compete with other denominations," he said.
On Sunday, there will be a 10 a.m. service with a luncheon to follow, to celebrate the 20 years.