Camden First United Methodist welcomes new pastor

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By Bobby Flash Melton

In recent weeks Camden First United Methodist Church (FUMC) has welcomed new pastor Adam Kelchner. He became the congregation’s minister on July 11 after being appointed to the position in June by Bishop William McAlilly during the Tennessee-Western Kentucky (TWK) Annual Conference of United Methodist Churches.

“I’m quite proud and honored to lead the congregation of Camden FUMC,” said Kelchner. “The church has a long history of outreach in the surrounding community and an expansive welcome and love for all people. I look forward to years of fruitful ministry with the fine folks of the congregation and appreciate the warm welcome they have extended to my entire family during the first few weeks we’ve been here. And if you’re looking for a community of faith where you can belong, I invite you to come join us for worship one Sunday at 10 a.m.”

A native of Mechanicsville, Va. (near Richmond), Kelchner holds a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., and a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. After completion of his Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt he was awarded a fellowship at Auschwitz for the study of professional ethics through the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Kelchner has served in many roles and capacities in the United Methodist Church (UMC) during the past 12 years. In 2011 he was involved in Campus Ministry at Belmont College in Nashville. He became a licensed pastor in the Tennessee Conference in 2012, was commissioned as a provisional elder in 2013, and ordained as an elder in full connection in the Conference in June 2017. 

From 2012-16 he served Belmont UMC in Nashville as pastor of global outreach and neighborhood ministries. As part of that appointment Kelchner was the primary pastor for the Golden Triangle Fellowship, a community of Burmese Refugees who are members of Belmont. He also led Belmont’s outreach and mission ministry in Malawi and Mexico.

At the Kingston Springs UMC Kelchner served as lead pastor from 2016-18. In his most recent appointment prior to Camden, he was senior pastor of Christ UMC in Franklin where he served from June 2018 until July of this year.

Kelchner and his wife Keeli have been married for eight years. They met in Nashville, where she works at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a cancer clinical trials specialist. A graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a B.S. in marine biology, she continues to work at Vanderbilt and now has over 12 years of cancer research experience. The Kelchners are the parents of Serena, their 5-year-old daughter who has just started kindergarten. 

Kelchner says his family is delighted to be a part of the Camden community and loves the outdoors. Whenever they can they plan to spend quality outdoor time at places such as Eva Beach, Lakeshore, NBF State Park, the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge in Springville, and out on Kentucky Lake.

Camden First United Methodist Church is located at 104 North Church Ave. in Camden. For more information about the ministries or programs at FUMC, visit their Facebook page or call 73-584-6081. 

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