After a year as superintendent of the Parsons and Five Rivers districts, the Rev. Dr. Tom Brady will shift on July 1 to lead the Kansas City District.
“I’m impressed with his relational work and his strategic work,” Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. said of Brady, 59. “He understands what it takes for churches to be vital, and he has a lot of experience that helps him offer pragmatic counsel and resources that he has used to help churches move forward.”
Brady’s pastoral experience includes a decade leading Overland Park Heritage UMC, from 1996 to 2006, after which he was appointed to Lawrence First UMC for 14 years.
“I felt like I got to know a lot of the churches when I was there,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit.”
Brady said he was looking forward to the challenges and opportunities in the KC District, but enjoyed his time getting to know pastors and churches in the Parsons and Five Rivers districts.
“Despite COVID, I feel like I built a lot of relationships between pastors and churches,” he said. “Even though we weren’t able to get around and visit, I got a feel for them and got to know what their needs are.”
He said he will continue that spirit in his new assignment.
“My first priority is going to be the same thing, building relationships with pastors and churches, especially in the first year and knowing what they’re involved in and where they can get resources,” Brady said.
Brady will succeed the Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu, who will take a new position as executive director of locations and pastoral care at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.
“Kansas City needed someone who was very familiar with the district, and also someone with experience to follow the work of Anne Gatobu,” Bishop Saenz said. “Tom Brady has pastored in the Kansas City District, he’s familiar with large-church operations, staffing issues, capital campaigns, and with ministries in different settings. He has experience, a strategic mind to help Kansas City continue the work.”
Brady said he is excited about the programs that have started in Johnson and Wyandotte counties, including working with justice organization Direct Action & Resource Training, or DART, as well as the district’s newly formed anti-racism group.
He said there will be a change in focus from his present districts to his new one.
“It’s a big change, going from a predominately rural to predominately urban and suburban churches,” Brady said. “But I welcome that.”
He will retain his longtime residence in Eudora.
“I can get to anywhere in the district in an hour,” he said.
A sixth-generation minister, Brady earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emporia State University — where he helped establish the campus ministry program — a master’s of divinity from Iliff School of Theology in Denver and a doctorate from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. He served as pastor at Americus and Burlington before the Overland Park Heritage assignment.
Brady, along with the Rev. Jenny Collins, Topeka and Flint Hills districts superintendent, joined the cabinet last year.
He said he has welcomed the challenges in his first year on the cabinet.
“I’ve enjoyed the relationships with the other cabinet members, getting to know them and kind of learning with them,” Brady said. “We’ve had a lot of change.”
The new appointive year July 1 will bring three new members to the cabinet: the Rev. Zach Anderson, Hays and Dodge City districts; the Rev. Charles Murithi, Prairie Rivers and a portion of the Elkhorn Valley District; and the Rev. Karen Rice Ratzlaff, Hutchinson and Salina districts.
A successor for Brady in Parsons and Five Rivers will be announced before the end of April, Bishop Saenz said.
“He’s left the district in a good place for whoever succeeds him,” the bishop said. “I really appreciate him for his willingness to serve where his gifts can be best utilized.”
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