Ironton Area Ministerial Association picks new president, VP

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Ironton Area Ministerial Association recently elected new leadership with Katrina Keith as president and Kim Gabbard as vice president.

Keith, a certified minister in Ohio and Kentucky and a member of Christ Temple Church in Huntington, West Virginia, as well as an assistant administer for Lawrence County, first began her affiliation with the ministerial association a couple years ago when she was mayor of Ironton and befriended Rob Hale, pastor of the Ironton First Church of the Nazarene and member of the Ironton Area Ministerial Association.

“We started kind of putting together the Unity in the Community services,” she said. “After I went out of office, I started attending their meetings and they had asked me, a year later, if I would be willing to be the next president. I was just too busy at the time.”

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She said she was willing to be vice president, but had just taken the job with Lawrence County and asked for a year to get acclimated at her new job.

“So, the year came,” she said with a laugh, “And now here I am.”

She said that one of her goals as the president of the ministerial association is to unite the various denominations within the group “so that we can come together, pray, get involved in the community, see where there is a need and meet that need through our resources and just lend support where it is needed.”

Among the Ironton Area Ministerial Association’s most attended events is the annual National Day of Prayer held on the steps of the Lawrence County Courthouse where local religious leaders pray for all aspects of American life.

Keith said events like this are important.

“We want to show that we are praying for the community,” she said. “Within the Christian community, we know that we seek God for answers. Through events like this, we want people to know your Christian community is still here and we are still praying on your behalf whenever it is needed.”

Gabbard is an associate pastor with Impact Church and coordinator of Tri-State Family Connections.

She has been a member of the ministerial association for a little over three years.

She accepted the vice president position because “we felt there needed to be some fresh blood, for lack of a better term, in there. That’s how Katrina and I got nominated and voted on.”
Gabbard said that it is very important for churches to get more involved in the community.

“I am very community-minded and I wanted to be able to get involved in what is going on in our area,” she said, adding that “I am always somewhere.”

Gabbard said that one of her goals is to get the word of God to those going through hard times with drugs.

That is where her work with Tri-State Family Connections comes in. Lawrence County Municipal Court judge Donald Capper put the group together to provide faith-based help to defendants in his court if they want it. Volunteers sit in the lobby of the court building ready to help those who want it.

“That’s what I am all about, just showing love to people who need it,” Gabbard said.

She said the goal of the group is to come to the understanding that they may all have different theologies and different doctrines “but our ultimate mission is the same — getting people to God. The group was formed long ago to show unity in the community among the churches and it was very, very huge before COVID-19.”

Their next event will be a Good Friday service at noon on April 15 at First United Methodist Church.

Everyone is invited to attend.