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.
Executive Pastor, Mike Caldron
I learned about Christianity from my upbringing. But I didn’t know that Jesus would not only forgive my sin and bear the penalty for it, but also grant me His righteousness. Jesus was an optional part of life, like a hobby or extra-curricular activity.
Then in high school my family moved from Chicago to Maple Valley, WA, and I attended Maple Valley Presbyterian Church, where I was really introduced to Jesus and I became a Christian. In 1993 while studying engineering at the University of Washington I met my wife, Joy (who is thoroughly British). We were married in March of 1995, and Joy and I settled in Bellevue, WA.
Over the past 20+ years I’ve held a variety of different jobs, ranging from working with Seattle’s sewer inspection group as a summer intern, designing and managing yacht construction projects for 11 years at Delta Marine Industries, serving World Vision in their procurement department for 6 years, and most recently working in the procurement departments of both Microsoft and Savers.
During that same time, I’ve been involved in several different churches playing drums in worship bands, serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee, supporting a church plant in an administrative capacity, leading small groups, and reading through as much on reformed theology as I could get my hands on… oh and Joy and I welcomed 3 great daughters into our world as well (3 girls…sound familiar?)
Sometime after moving to Renton, we began attending First EPC. Since joining the church in 2006, I have been involved in teaching adult Sunday school and serving as an Elder on and off since 2008. Moving into the role of Executive Pastor of First EPC was a natural step. It’s a privilege to serve at First EPC.
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!