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Pastoral Staff - Embrace United Church of Christ

Senior Pastor of Embrace UCC

Embrace United Church of Christ is currently seeking a new senior pastor.  Rev. Ken Ehrke retired in May 2024 after serving 10 years as the pastor of Embrace UCC and 37 total years in ministry.  

Ordained Clergy at Embrace UCC


Rev. Lisetta Thomas: Rev. Thomas joined Embrace UCC in 2021 and currently contributes to worship and pastoral care at Embrace UCC.  She is a full-time school counselor in the Fort Worth Independent School District. She has 30 years of experience in ministry.

Rev. Dennis Ureche: Rev. Ureche is a retired UCC minister having previously served as the senior pastor for St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Inman, KS. Rev. Ureche joined Embrace UCC in 2023 and currently contributes to worship and pastoral care. He is married to Diane Miller who serves as the Embrace UCC Treasurer. 


Rev. Melissa Ashmore:  Rev. Ashmore is the Director of Registration at Pathways, a UCC online training program for Clergy and Lay persons.  Rev. Ashmore has been with Embrace since 2014 and was a Member in Discernment while completing seminary. She was ordained in 2018. She is married to Lora Ashmore and they are mothers to two active boys! 

Rev. Alberto MaganaRev. Magana is a VITAS Hospice Chaplain in Dallas and a member at Embrace UCC.  He has a special outreach to the Hispanic community doing weddings, funerals, and family celebrations.

Rev. Ali Lopez-Valcarcel:  Rev. Lopez-Valcarcel was a member of Embrace UCC while completing her Master's of Divinity at Brite Divinity School.  She is currently the pastor of United Church of Christ Rio Grande Valley, a Church plant of Embrace UCC, that seeks justice for immigrants, refugees, people in the margins, LGBTQ+ humans, and support the people who love them in the RGV. 

Retired Clergy

Rev. Ken Ehrke:  Rev. Ehrke was the senior pastor of Embrace United Church of Christ from 2014 to 2024.  In addition to Embrace UCC, he previously served as the senior pastor of Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth from 2001 to 2008 and Open Door Metropolitan Community Church in Boyds, Md., from 1991 to 2000.

Prior to joining Embrace United Church of Christ (formerly Cathedral of Hope Mid-Cities), Rev. Ehrke served as a case manager at Fort Worth’s The Parenting Center, where he helped the homeless, immigrants, refugees, and people struggling with mental illness and addiction build and maintain healthy and successful families through the prevention of child abuse and the promotion of positive parenting skills.

In addition to his ministerial experience, Ehrke served on the board of directors for numerous community organizations, including AIDS Interfaith Network in Dallas, AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth, and the Whitman-Walker community health center serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Originally from Nebraska, Ehrke received a Master of Divinity degree from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



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