The Rev. Grace Imathiu will be installed as the new senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Evanston on Sunday.
Imathiu was appointed by Bishop Sally Dyck with the unanimous approval of the First Church Staff-Parish Relations Committee.
She succeeds the Rev. Dean Francis who retired after 23 years as senior pastor.
On Sunday Imathiu will lead the 10:30 a.m. worship service and be present at the congregation’s Rally Day lunch following the worship service. Both events are open to the public.
Imathiu has ministerial experience spanning the United States and Africa. She served churches in Kenya as a church planter; a superintendent minister overseeing 68 rural churches in Nkubu, and an urban minister to an ecumenical congregation in Nairobi with strong outreach to the neighboring
slums of Kawangware.
In the U.S. she has served churches in Green Bay and Milwaukee, and most recently in Naperville where she served as senior pastor of Community United Methodist Church.
“It is both exciting and humbling to join the ministry of ‘The First House of Worship in Evanston’ where many of Evanston’s movers and shakers such as John Evans, Orrington Lunt, Frances Willard and Bishop Edsel Ammons found a spiritual home,” Imathiu says. “God has been at work throughout my life
to prepare me for a time such as this.”
As an African who is married to a European and is raising an American son, Imathiu says she's committed to advocating for the inclusion of all people and preaches on issues of justice at the intersections of religion, race, sexuality and gender. She has been an open ally and activist for the LGBTQI community since 1997.
She has preached in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Togo, Liberia, Denmark, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil and throughout the United States. In 2016 she was a speaker at the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women as well as preaching for the third time at the World Methodist Conference held in Houston, Texas – an event attracting more than 3,000 participants from over 80 countries.