Presbyterian pastor found himself drawn to Everett church

EVERETT — When the Rev. Alan Dorway first considered leaving his position as an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Carson City, Nev., he said a prayer.

He asked God to open a new door and promised he would follow. It wasn’t the first time Dorway had said that prayer.

“It was the same prayer I had when I was in college,” he said. “It was, ‘God, if you want me to go to seminary, get me into seminary.’ A lot of my prayer is if God opens the door, I’ll follow and I’ll be as obedient as I can over my stubbornness.”

Dorway’s prayer in college was answered when he applied to and then graduated with a master’s degree in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. An answer to a similar prayer came in early December, when he was voted the new pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Everett.

“God opened this door, I believe, for me to come to Everett and the church and the Pastor Nominating Committee and even those in Carson recognized that I had been there for a time and had served in a faithful way.”

Dorway, 34, was the associate pastor at the Carson City church for the past eight years. His first sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Everett was on Dec. 6, when he spoke in front of the church congregation. After his sermon, the congregation voted 159-0 to make him the new pastor of the church. He gave his first sermon as the church’s new pastor on Jan. 17.

The unanimous decision by the church congregation ended a two-year search by the church Pastor Nominating Committee, according to committee chairman Jay Kuhnhenn. For him, Dorway stood out among more than 200 applicants because of his enthusiasm and passion for mission work.

“Each one of us (on the committee) brought a different element to the search process, but I’m very into missions and he has a lot of mission experience,” he said.

Dorway and his wife, Elizabeth, have led mission trips to Ethiopia, South Korea and Bay St. Louis, Miss. Although he is clearly mission-minded, Dorway said he’s focusing on learning how First Presbyterian Church of Everett contributes to the community.

“I think in the beginning I really just want to learn,” he said. “This church has an amazing history and there are a lot of parts that make this church run and my goal is to really learn and to highlight the things we do well.”

Dorway also looks forward to learning more about Everett. A native of Las Vegas, he visited his great aunt and uncle who live in the area and attend First Presbyterian Church of Everett 12 years ago. Now a resident of Everett himself, he said he enjoys the view of the mountains and finding new walking routes through the city with his chocolate Labrador, Bailee.

Dorway leads service at 10 a.m. on Sundays at First Presbyterian Church, 2936 Rockefeller Ave. He will be installed in his new role as pastor at 3 p.m. on March 14.

He plans to share more about himself through his sermons and find out what church members’ hopes and dreams are for the church throughout the year.

“This congregation has been very supportive of their pastors in the past and they have expressed their support to me personally and I believe that’s going to be the case in the coming months and years,” he said.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491, adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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