John Kay continues to educate people just like a pastor now
FRAZEYSBURG – Growing up in Cuyahoga Falls, John Kay loved sports. “Especially,” he says, “baseball, golf and basketball.
“I also loved history, chess, fishing and a dozen other things that I can think of,” he added. “I wanted to be President of the United States. But by the time I was in high school and college, I realized that I was probably not cut out for politics. So I decided to become a high school basketball coach with the goal of being a Division 1 varsity coach. Or I thought about getting a PhD. in American History and College Education.
Well, today Kay is the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Frazeysburg.
“The last thing I ever thought I would be was a pastor,” he said.
“For me, the first time I thought about it was at university,” he noted. “I had just returned from a scouting trip to Ashland University as part of a basketball coaching course. As I pulled into a parking space in the dormitory, I suddenly had the idea that someone was saying, “You should be a pastor. My first thought was, “No way! I went to bed and forgot about it.
Now “a very young man in his sixties,” as he put it, Kay graduated from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in 1976, Malone College (now the University) in 1980, and then earned a master’s degree in divinity at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio in 1996. He has been at Frazeysburg Church since June 2019.
“Before going to seminary, I was in teaching for a while,” he recalls. “After teaching and replacing students in several different schools, I realized that I couldn’t be a good teacher in a public school, so I needed to do something else. It was a good experience to live. In retrospect, God closed many doors and opened others until I accepted that he wanted me to minister to him.
“Pastor John made a huge impact in the church as well as in the community upon his arrival in 2019,” said Denise Rollison, a member of the United Methodist Church in Frazeysburg. “He doesn’t know any stranger and is ready to help anyone in need and wherever he needs it. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic soon after his appointment to church, I think we would be overflowing. His message and actions are truly a testimony of God’s love and grace for everyone, and we are blessed to have John as our pastor. We all know there will never be a dull moment with him in our life.
“Being a pastor comes from the heart,” Kay replied. “It’s a passion, it’s a vocation, it’s a burden and it’s a joy. There are a lot of hard days, but a lot more good days.
“Pastors,” he explained, “deal with people in times of crisis and change, and sometimes those crises are great things. We celebrate the birth of children with families. We give God’s blessing to people who make a lifelong commitment to one another in marriage. We bless and pray for people all the time. Every Sunday when I tell people about God’s love, and every day that I testify of my faith to others, it’s a big day.
“But,” he added, “we also speak to people whose lives are in ruins. I cry tears too.
Then, around a corner, he concluded, “If I may add this, I am very lucky to be married to the best woman in the world, my wife Fay Bierly Kay. I definitely got past my blanket when I married her.
Frazeysburg United Methodist Church is located at 87 W. 2nd St. in Frazeysburg. For more information, call 740-828-2201 or connect on Facebook.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focused on people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people taking regular jobs and making them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected]