"I'm glad to be here," Rev. Kenneth "Ken" G. Hacker of the St. Paul Lutheran Church said. "There's some things to do and together we can do them ... we're going to give it our best shot."
The church congregation approved Rev. Hacker's full-time status after a church vote Sept. 20 and his official day being full-time was Oct. 1. His approved contract is for three years and three months.
Prior to that, he served as the interim or part-time pastor at the Newcomerstown church since early 2009.
But, ministry wasn't his first interest during his collegiate years. Rev. Hacker wanted to become an accountant and, thankfully, he took classes in that capacity because that's where he met his wife, Joy.
It was an internship at the Price Waterhouse & Co. that his career goal switched.
"I discovered that that wasn't what I was suppose to be doing," he said after the accounting internship.
He went and applied to seminary school at the Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Since his graduation in 1980, his ministry and passion for teaching God's word has led him to many locations including Pittsburgh for three years, the Massillon/Canton area to several area churches, village of Tuscarawas for 11 years at the St. James Lutheran Church, and a short time at the St. John Lutheran Church in Petersburg (south of Youngstown).
In terms of hobbies, he was a member of the volunteer fire department in Petersburg. He and his wife also do western-style country dancing and Tandem bicycling to name a few. But, his two children, Paul, 21, a graduate of Full Sail University (a film industry school) in Florida; and Matthew, a second year sophomore, at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa, who is studying theater (backstage operations) and computer engineering, take up most of their time. Matthew also served as a light technician at the Trumpet in the Land outdoor drama in New Philadelphia this past summer.
Rev. Hacker, at age 55, also serves as a substitute teacher in the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District.
In the future, he has several plans for the church. He plans to start an Evangelism Committee, plans to promote church activities during Advent and Christmas by placing door hangers on each resident's door, wants to include more youth/high school student activities, has started an afterschool program for first graders to receive additional study help on Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m., wants more spiritual activities for young adults, and is trying to introduce 3- to 5-minute dramas into Sunday morning worship.
As far as Rev Hacker's take on the "s" being added to the end of St. Paul, he said each member of the congregation has their own opinion. However, theologically speaking, there shouldn't be an "s" added.