Senior Pastor, Tommy Allen
I spent the first 17 years of my life in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and, during those years, almost never attended a church and had no clue with regard to Christianity. That all changed, however, in my senior year of high school. Some friends invited me to a camp and, there, I heard “the gospel” and embraced it.
What to do next was already decided. Just prior to becoming a Christian, I had enlisted in the Army with the hope of becoming an Airborne Ranger. In the summer of 1984, I entered the basic training and, ultimately, succeeded in my dream. After spending nearly four years with the 1st Bn. (Ranger) 75th Infantry, I was honorably discharged and began to pursue another dream—college.
I attended Florida State University and majored in English Literature. Also at FSU, I met my wife, Judy. We married in our senior year and, upon graduation, left for seminary in Orlando, Florida. Three years and two daughters later, I graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary.
In 1997, Judy and I moved to Seattle in order to plant a church in Capitol Hill. Five years and another daughter later, the church was established and I took a break from full-time ministry. I spent three years as a neuroscience sales representative for Eli Lilly and Company. During this time, our family joined the membership of First EPC here in Kent.
Somehow, in those next few years, I went from being a lay-person who occasionally taught Sunday School classes to being the Senior Pastor! If you want “all the gory details,” sign up for the next Discovery Class and, I promise, you’ll hear them all.
Assistant Pastor, Jamie Richard
I grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, where I developed into a college baseball prospect. It was during my freshman year at the University of Tennessee when God became more real to me than ever before--I had suffered from what ultimately became a career-ending injury to my pitching elbow. Stripped of what had defined my life for so many years, God turned my heart to himself, and I experienced his forgiveness and presence in new ways.
After college, my wife and I spent a few years in college sports ministry and later attended graduate school at Reformed Theological Seminary. After seminary, I pastored a church in Tucson, Arizona, worked as a sales representative for both a sign making franchisee and a business brokerage in Tampa, Florida, and taught elementary school, coached and administrated at a private school in Central Florida. Six years ago, I returned to the pastoral ministry at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church (FL) and now embrace with anticipation the opportunity to serve First EPC and its South King County community.
My wife, Angel, and our three boys, Owen, Bryce, and Brett, equally share my excitement to be making our new home in Kent.
Assistant Pastor for Students and Young Adults, Steve Tyra
I was not raised as a Christian – in fact, in middle school I decided to “convert” to atheism and not bother with any religion or god at all. All of that changed, however, when I was seventeen. Encouraged to read the Bible by a teacher, I discovered that “the Christians’ book” wasn’t nearly the collection of “fairy tales” that I had supposed – and it was that surprising revelation that led me to attend a worship service on Good Friday, 2003, at the First Presbyterian Church of Roseville, CA. At the conclusion of that service, I responded to the pastor’s invitation to receive the Lord’s Supper – so long as I accepted “the Gospel” of Jesus Christ.
My newfound faith quickly reshaped my life. I took to studying the Bible and all the Christian books I could get my hands on – and within months I was asked to serve in the youth ministry at that same Presbyterian church. Around this time, I also began dating Becca – a girl I had known since ninth grade, but who had required a few years to “warm up” to me. Becca (who had been raised Lutheran) also started attending our new church, and we sensed that “this ministry thing” might be a big part of our future. Becca and I went to college together, first at a community college, and then at the University of California, Davis. I majored in English Literature, and Becca studied Animal Biology.
After graduating from UC Davis, I had the tremendous privilege of entering into marriage with Becca, and we promptly “shipped out” to the East Coast, where I had been accepted at Princeton Seminary. However, the 2008 financial “crash” resulted in my student aid at Princeton being revised, and so we were forced to return home to Northern CA after only a year of study. Fortunately, I (with the support of family and the church community) was able to transfer to Fuller Seminary in Fall 2009. At this point, I couldn’t decide whether I was supposed to be a pastor or a professor, and so I ended up earning two degrees at Fuller: the M.A. in Theology, and the Th.M. in Church History, from which I graduated just recently (Summer 2012). In the end, the tug to go into ministry was too strong to ignore, and Becca and I were blessed to be called up to the Northwest and First EPC, where we serve alongside middle and high school students!
Pastor of Congregational Care, Tom Ramsay
Pastor Tom serves the church through visitation, counseling, and assisting in the shepherding of the congregation. He also gives ministerial support to the Deacons and the Primetimers. Tom was the Interim Pastor at First EPC from 1993 to 1995. After three years with the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, he returned in 1998 as an assistant pastor. He earned his Master of Divinity at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Tom loves serving the Lord with his wife Jerrie. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.