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Rev. Ken Ehrke

Pastor, Embrace United Church of Christ


Rev. Ken Ehrke is pastor of Embrace United Church of Christ – a vibrant, progressive Christian community of faith located in the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth.  He has a wide range of ministry experience, having served in a number of pastor, hospital chaplain/counselor, and social service case manager/educator roles over the past 29 years.  He was the senior pastor of Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth from 2001 to 2008 and was senior pastor of the 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), 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 has served on the board of directors for a number of 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.

Rev Melissa Ashmore was ordained in January 2018. Rev. Ashmore is minister of Community Outreach and Children's Education Formation.  She has been with Embrace since 2014 and completed her Member in Discernment with us while attending Andover Newton UCC Seminary in Boston as a distance learning student. She is married to Lora Ashmore and they are mothers to two active boys!   Melissa is the Director of Registration at Pathways -- a UCC online training program for Clergy and Lay 


Melissa is busy finding ways for us to impact the greater community.    

Melissa supports our Children's Education Formation program. 


Rev Lisetta Thomas - joined us in 2021 and helps with worship and pastoral care.  She is a full time school 

counselor.  She brings 30 years of ministry experience.


Rev. Naomy Sengebwila is a chaplain at Baylor Dallas and a member at Embrace UCC.  She works diligently with her family leading a ministry called Embracing Hope in Zambia -- where they are building a group of homes for children who do not have parents.  This ministry will be self sustaining from the farm, cattle, chickens and crops.


Rev. Alberto 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.


Ali Lopez-Valcarcel recently completed her education at Brite Divinity School and is building a ministry at the Southern Border of USA and Mexico that will be affirming of LGBTQ immigrants and refugees.  Ali will be covering Pastoral Duties May- July while Pastor Ken Ehrke is on Sabbatical. 



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