The Rev. R. Glen Miles calls himself a "major-league church nerd."

"My father was a pastor in a church in California and in fifth grade, I became a member of the Jet Cadets for Jesus club at our church," he said. "From then on, I just always loved getting involved in what was happening in the church."

Miles, 58, is the new senior minister at First Community Church, replacing the Rev. Richard Wing, who retired at the end of March.

An installation ceremony for Miles was held May 21 at the church's south campus on Cambridge Boulevard in Marble Cliff.

It's an exciting time to join First Community, Miles said.

"There's a renewed sense of enthusiasm in the church with the building projects we have planned for the south and north campuses," he said.

Miles said he is excited about his new position.

"I've known about this church for 25 years, ever since I read an article about it in the Christian Century magazine," he said. "First Community is widely known as being one of the most important and progressive churches in the nation."

First Community's mission to be "the church of the infinite quest" is central to the congregation and to his own theology, Miles said.

"We are Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, but we are not afraid of the truth, whether it's spoken by Jesus, Buddha or Muhammad," he said.

A native of California, Miles served as an assistant minister to Wing in churches on the West Coast for seven years.

"We've been friends for more than 30 years," he said. "Dick has helped make this as smooth of a transition as you could imagine."

Miles previously served as pastor at Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City -- "named for the neighborhood, not a golf course," he said, chuckling.

He also served as the moderator for the 2015-17 biennium of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly.

Miles has preached several times at First Community, most recently in 2015 when the General Assembly was held in Columbus.

"I really enjoy the pulpit and preaching," he said. "It's probably what inspires and motivates me the most."

The ministry "gives us the opportunity to wade into the most beautiful moments of people's lives and the most terrible moments and help make a difference," Miles said.

Miles is the right choice to make a difference at First Community, said Virginia Barney, who led the search committee.

"It was an intensive search. We connected with probably 70 ministers from around the country," Barney said. "Glen stood out for his ability to preach and lead our church and to connect with church members of all ages."

Miles has been married to Julie, his high school sweetheart, for 37 years. They have two sons: Nate, 27, and Steven, 22.

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