Ken Walden

Ethnic Background: African American

Conference: California Pacific

Probationary Date: 08/25/2003

Full Membership Date: 05/25/2009

Number of Eligible Quadrenniums: 5

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Practical Theology: Pastoral Care and Counseling
Master of Arts (MA) in Practical Theology: Pastoral Care and Counseling
Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Ecumenical Ministries and Inter-Religious Dialogue
Squadron Officer School
Master of Divinity
One Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, VA Hospital, Durham, NC
THE CITADEL, Charleston, SC
Bachelor of Arts – Social Studies Education

Ministry Experience:
2020 – Present: Senior Pastor of Holman UMC in Los Angeles, California
– Current Member of the Orders Executive Committee, Board of Ordained Ministry
– Current Member of Committee on Investigations
2019 – Present: Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel, Robins Air Force Base (GA) – USAFR
2014 – 2019: Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel, Shaw Air Force Base (SC) – USAFR
2012 – 2014: Chaplain Major, Joint Base Anacostia – Bolling (DC) – USAFR
2012 – 2013: University Chaplain-Professor at Claflin University (SC)
2009 – 2012: Senior Pastor of First UMC in Lakewood, California
2007 – 2009: Pastor of English Ministry of Wilshire UMC in Los Angeles, California
2005 – 2012: Chaplain Major, March Air Reserve Base (CA) – USAFR
2003 – 2005: Associate Pastor of Hope UMC in Southfield, Michigan
2003 – 2005: Chaplain Captain, Selfridge Military Base (MI) – USAFR
2002 – 2003: Associate Pastor of Orange UMC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2002 – 2003: Chaplain First Lieutenant, Pope Air Force Base (NC) – USAFR

Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
– National Advisory Board Member for The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School
– Black Methodist For Church Renewal (BMCR)
– Ebony Prophets
– Center for Faith and the Arts
– Civitan International
– National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
– Military Officer Association of America (MOAA)
– Theological Scholar Consultant for the Henry Luce Foundation
Author of the following books:
1. “Practical Theology for Church Diversity: A Guide for Clergy and Congregations”
2. “Challenges Faced by Iraq War Reservists and Their Families: A Soul Care Approach for
Chaplains and Pastors”
3. “A Pastor’s Poetry: Volume One”

Other Relevant Experience:
2018 – 2020: President-Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary (GA)
2018: Harvard University’s Seminar for New Presidents
2018: “Trailblazer Award” – Black Methodist for Church Renewal of the Western Jurisdiction
2014 – 2018: Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling at Hood Theological Seminary (NC)
– “Teaching Excellence and Service Award”
2014: “The Meritorious Service Medal” from the United States Air Force
2013 – 2014: Senior Advisor to Navy’s Wounded Warrior Program (DC)
2013: Riley Fellow for Strategic Leadership in Diversity of Furman University (SC)
2013: CLAREMONT SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY, Instructor – Taught a summer course on United Methodist History in the United Methodist Church Course of Study Program
SELECTED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: Bahamas, Canada, England, Egypt, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, and South Africa

Why are you being called to the episcopacy at this time? What is it that you especially bring to the role of bishop with the current challenges facing our denomination and the Western Jurisdiction right now?
As a Christian I bring my unwavering belief in God to share with others, that will translate into an enormous amount of hope, inspiration, and a productive direction for our jurisdiction and denomination.

There are several reasons I am feeling called to the episcopacy at this time. It was to my great surprise that without prompting my clergy colleagues lifted my name up during Cal-Pac Annual Conference 2022 for consideration based on my exhibited personal and professional characteristics. Since then, more of my clergy colleagues across the United States of America have contacted me with encouraging and affirming words stating their support for my appointment to the episcopacy. Over the years I have experienced God communicating with me directly and through the voices and fellowship with other believers his plan for my life and I consider this is one of those times.

It is also during this season of my life and ministry, I feel called to the episcopacy during because I believe I have the energy, insight, and temperament to become an effective Bishop. My clergy, academic and military experiences give me a worldview relevant to both the younger and older generations and across ethnicities to build bridges.
I bring a diverse set of lived experiences as an African American / Air Force Chaplain Reservist / President-Professor / Pastor in a variety of congregations. I also bring valuable skills such as in-depth experience in strategic thinking, planning and execution in the following:

1. Setting and Achieving Goals
2. Creating Institutional Partnerships
3. Maintaining Financial Vitality
4. Sustaining Spiritual Wellness

I believe my personal and professional successful record of inclusiveness will benefit the denomination and the Western Jurisdiction, especially in this climate of uncertainty, during this divisive-disruptive-fracturing season.

Describe how the last two years have affected your ministry.
The last two years affected my ministry by increasing my confidence that God remains in control even during perceived uncontrollable times. I was appointed Senior Pastor of Holman UMC located in Los Angeles during the Summer of 2020; literally a few months after the March 2020 Covid-19 pandemic transformed our world as we know it. This was the first time in my ministry where I instructed the congregation to not attend worship services in person, the exact opposite of building community. My vision of what impactful ministry looks like had to change, so I immediately began identifying resources in the areas of spiritual and physical wellness, mental health, and financial awareness to support the congregation and community. My flexibility allowed me to use technology to connect and minister, establish strategic community partnerships, set different goals, and implement new approaches for worship.

Holman UMC did not have in-person worship services, or in-person committee meetings during the first 18 months of my pastoral appointment. We returned to in person worship services, with mask requirements and social distancing restrictions, in November 2021.

These last two years have expanded my reliance on prayer and routines to maintain my physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. This season has compelled me to refocus on family and my prayerful routine of mediation. The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled me to spend more time outdoors and it has been revelatory in the following ways:

a. Appreciating God’s creation
b. Focusing on physical wellness
c. Uninterrupted time to process past events and lessons learned
d. Uninterrupted time to pray and hear God’s voice for direction

The last two years have deepened my walk with Jesus Christ, reminding me that we are all God’s children and need spiritual guidance and unwavering reliance upon God’s grace during all seasons of life.

Endorser: United States Ambassador – Reverend Charles R. Stith

Relationship to Candidate: Retired UMC Clergy Colleague and Member of Holman UMC

I am honored to comment on the gifts, skills, and leadership qualities I have observed in Rev. Dr. Ken Walden. His temperament and commitment to the ministry will provide the leadership the United Methodist Church needs at a critical time in the history of the denomination. As a member of Holman UMC in Los Angeles, where Ken is the senior pastor, I get to experience his faith and love of the church.

In addition to his pastoral appointments, Ken served as the President and Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary as well as Chaplain and religious education professor at Claflin University, both United Methodist institutions. As Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves, he ministers to those serving our country. These experiences broaden his perspective of the world, those making up our churches, and those we have yet to reach.

My professional experiences as the United States Ambassador to Tanzania, an African-American UMC clergyperson having served cross racial church appointments, professor at Boston University, and businessman allow me to observe effective leaders and individuals with exceptional moral character. Ken embodies those traits and will bring his expertise, diplomatic skills, and a pastor’s heart to the episcopacy.

Endorser: Rev. Dr. Professor Lincoln E. Galloway

Relationship to Candidate: Cal-Pac UMC Clergy Colleague and Claremont School of Theology Seminary Professor Colleague

With heart, soul, mind, and strength, Rev. Dr. Ken Walden has demonstrated a deep love of God, commitment to Christ, and servant leadership of the church. He has loved with his mind as reflected in his scholarship and lifelong commitment to education: awarded two doctorates, published two significant books with a focus on care and diversity; enriched three communities with his scholarship: clergy/church; chaplains/military; and students/seminary.

As pastor, chaplain, and seminary professor, Ken has shown a loving and compassionate heart towards those who are wounded (especially members of the military), through his gifts in spiritual care and counseling.

In terms of his servant leadership, he has demonstrated gifts and competencies in the institutions he has led as pastor and seminary president. He has modeled through his writing, teaching, preaching, and advocacy how to embrace and celebrate diversity across race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, culture/language, and country of origin.

In the classroom and beyond, Ken has pointed the church to ways to connect everyone from clergy to children and youth to the pain, wounds, hunger, and longings of the world. He is a voice for the voiceless; and the embodiment of the church’s global mission of peace, justice, and love.

Endorser: Reverend Janet Cromwell

Relationship to Candidate: Cal-Pac UMC Retired Clergy Colleague & Claremont School of Theology Seminary Administrator

Rev. Dr. Ken Walden’s service in local churches, seminary education, and military chaplaincy provides a breadth of ministry experience, insight, and passion for the expansiveness of Christ’s church in the world. He recognizes the importance of diverse ministry settings to engage the next generation of faithful disciples and Christian leaders.

Ken’s Ph.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, combined with his professional background, enables him to listen and respond with compassion when mediating conflict or disagreement. His sensitivity to cultural diversity enhances his ability to build bridges of mutual understanding and trust.

Ken has an eye for innovation which inspires others to engage in visioning and implementing new ideas with successful results. In each of his positions, Ken has worked to establish open communication, lay involvement, and financial stability.

Ken possesses the gift of reaching out and engaging in meaningful conversation. His work within the UMC and ecumenical settings opens doors for broad coalitions to fight for justice and equity for all God’s children.

Ken’s deep Christian faith is sustained through personal spiritual practices, Bible study, and communal worship, all of which is reflected in his preaching, ministry, and leadership. As Bishop, he would be fully committed to serving the UMC.

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