MUSCATINE, Iowa–When Kevin Powell started looking for an Episcopal parish in need of a pastor, he felt drawn to Muscatine. “I like the rich history of the town and how its focus has shifted over the years–it’s a town that’s not afraid to reinvent itself,” he shared. This appeal seems quite apt, as Powell found his way to Muscatine after successfully adapting himself to a variety of career paths over the years.
In the past, Powell spent time in manufacturing before purchasing a farm of his own in Strawberry Point. Though Powell had always had an interest in the ministry, he never felt ready to act on it until he and his family began attending the Episcopal church in nearby Clermont. Powell and his family had first visited an Episcopal church in Colorado while on vacation and he and his wife liked the way it blended elements of the Methodist Church he had grown up in with those from her Catholic background.
After discussing his interest in ministry with several members of his congregation, Powell enrolled in hybrid classes at Bexley Seabury, earning a Diploma in Anglican Studies. He returned to Bexley Seabury for his Master of Divinity Degree, which he will complete this year. Powell participated in a one year internship as a deacon in Dubuque before his ordination in Muscatine Sept. 19.
As Powell takes up his new role in his new community, he relishes the opportunity to get to know Muscatine and find places for himself and for Trinity Episcopal Church to make a positive difference. Powell finds what he calls the, “community outlook,” of Trinity inspiring and looks forward to getting familiar with its outreach programs, as well as joint efforts with other area churches. “I like getting out, getting my hands dirty, and doing things,” he said. “If we all work together, which it seems Muscatine already does well, we’ll move forward and adapt to the times.”
On a more personal level, Powell has high hopes for getting to learn about the history of Muscatine, exploring its time as a lumbering hub, then as Pearl Button Capital of the World, and more recently its industrial developments. He plans to look into the story of Trinity Episcopal Church too, which holds the distinction of the oldest Episcopal church building in Iowa, as well as the home of the state’s first Episcopal diocese.
Powell will also help his wife, Marsha, a teacher in the Cedar Rapids area, and his youngest daughter settle in their new community. He believes the city’s comfortable size will allow them to feel at home quickly.