EVERETT — Juan Enrique Toro, 58, has two main goals now that he is the new minister for the Unity Center for Positive Living.
He first wants to know the needs of his congregation of 125 people. He also wants the church, at 3231 Colby Ave., to better use of social media.
Meanwhile, Toro is really loving the city, but he knows the weather has been unusual for the Puget Sound.
“I am delighted with the area, and I am very grateful to the community for their acceptance of me,” Toro said.
Toro started his work on Sept. 1. He is replacing the Rev. Robert Eagan, who retired in May after 30 years of service.
Toro is planning small changes in the Christmas celebrations that he hopes will make the event more introspective, he said.
Toro was one of 16 candidates who applied for the position. After interviews, the board of directors asked him to conduct a Saturday workshop and a Sunday service in July. It allowed him to see the area and the congregation a chance to meet him.
Before the workshop, Toro said he had a dream about it. In the dream, his father, who died in May, was there and hugged him.
“It was a confirmation,” Toro said about the dream. “(Everett) was the right place with the right people.”
The board of directors liked his presentation and they offered the position immediately, board member Cindi Pedersen said,
“We felt he was the best fit for our church,” she said. “Our congregation overwhelming supported him.”
Toro has been a minister since 1991. He had a ministry in Puerto Rico and then he spent 20 years in Costa Rica where he started a bilingual ministry and started a “spiritual tourism,” in where people came to his church as a retreat.
This is his first time in the Pacific Northwest. Toro has also a degree in electrical engineering from Union College in New York.
Toro has a fiance who is still living in Costa Rica while Toro applies for her visa. He has a mother and a younger brother living in Virginia. Toro was born in Ecuador and moved to New York when he was 13.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.