Little did they know how much their plans would change.
This month they celebrated their 25 years at Family Christian Center, 18 S. Sixth St. with a special church service and luncheon on Sunday, May 18.
Pastor Ken Moren has served the longest of any other senior pastor within Patterson’s churches. But before he started his career in Patterson, Moren served as a staff member for the Ceres Valley Christian Center in the 1980s after assisting missionaries in Indonesia.
The Morens were sent to Patterson by the denominational authority from the Assemblies of God to help revitalize the local church. Their efforts became quite a success within the commmunity. In the past two decades, the church has grown by leaps and bounds.
“It’s been an incredible 25-year journey,” Moren said. “Over that time we have seen the church grow numerically, multi-culturally — we have a large African American and African constituency in the church.”
Gregory Nnaji, a member of the local church said the Morens are self-sacrificing.
“I have found Pastors Ken and Brenda Moren a couple after God’s heart – a wonderful pair,” Nnaji said. “Their humility and self-sacrifice are challenging and inspiring. Indeed, I deeply admire and appreciate their ministerial grace and pray that as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their ministry in Family Christian Center, Patterson. I hope their hearts may find encouragement for continued service in God’s vineyard. On behalf of my family, I congratulate Pastors Ken and Brenda Moren.”
Under Pastor Moren’s tenure, the ministries of the church have expanded to include Kingdom Kidz Preschool, now in its 10th year, as well as NOAH Outreach Ministry, a neighborhood outreach of Assemblies of God.
NOAH uses a special bus to go into the various neighborhoods of Patterson in order to present to children and young adults the message of the good news and hope.
NOAH also gives out coats, clothing, backpacks, food, and supplies, and most recently conducted an Easter egg outreach in a city park near the Hammon Senior Center. During that time, the 300 children and adults who participated at Tilton Park collected more than 5,000 Easter eggs.
Pastor Moren is also proud that the now 300-member church has a tremendous outreach towards other churches and participates in such events as the annual prayer breakfast at the Federated Methodist-Presbyterian Church each January. He also recalls golf games played with Sacred Heat Church priests Rev. James Galvan and Rev James Connors, who are both now deceased. He is active in the Patterson Ministerial Association as well as the Patterson Rotary Club.
“We have really had a great relationship with the churches,” Moren said. “Many of the barriers have been broken down resulting in excellent fellowship between the pastors and churches.”
Besides the Sunday service, Kingdom Kidz Preschool, and NOAH Ministries, the church has a strong music and puppet ministry, Bible study, Missionettes, Royal Rangers and Extreme Youth groups.
Pastor Moren credits his wife, Brenda for working alongside him throughout the entire process.
“I could not have done what I’ve done without Brenda,” Moren said.
“Besides being life partners for 48 years, we have been partners in the ministry for 44 years. Without Brenda I could not have accomplished what has been accomplished —she’s a valuable asset; she’s involved and interested in this congregation.”
Besides having two sons, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren to keep track of, Brenda has worked with denomination as a Womens Ministries representative. Her primary responsibility is to raise money for missions. Her section raised the most money for seven consecutive years — averaging $40,000 a year.
The record was $52,000 for the Central San Joaquin Section of Assemblies of God of the Northern California District, which consists of more than 400 churches.
The church has also afforded Pastor Moren the opportunity to grow academically.
He earned his master of arts in church leadership and management from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO. in 2008 and just completed his masters of Divinity in 2014.
Pastor Moren has just been accepted to Mill Valley into the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary for the doctor of ministry program with an emphasis on teaching in colleges and universities.
One could say that they were truly blessed.
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.