By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Following the departure of Pastor Kenneth Davis in June 2019, Palisades Lutheran Church introduced Ken Frese as a transitional pastor this January.
“I like the church a lot, I’ve known the people here for years, so I know the congregation pretty well,” Frese commented to the Palisadian-Post. “I’m just happy to be here.”
Frese has an extensive career in ministry, from serving as the Lutheran chaplain at UCLA for 11 years to serving 12 years as the pastor for First Lutheran Venice.
He also did graduate work in clinical and pastoral psychology after graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
For the past several years, Frese has dedicated his service to Southern California and has counseled many congregations in transition, led retreats and preached at various churches.
As transitional pastor at Palisades Lutheran Church, Frese is helping rebuild the congregation and is committed to being there for six months to a year.
Davis left his position at the church after two-and-a-half years and a 30-year career in ordained ministry. Davis and his daughter, Cassadi, were accosted in the local Ralphs parking lot the evening of April 18, 2019, by a woman who hurled racial epithets and threats of gun violence against them.
“I don’t know if the incident on April 18 had a whole lot of bearing on my decision, other than to confirm that I really wanted to do something in the area of race relations in a venue where I feel that my voice can be heard by more than just the local congregation,” Davis told the Post in 2019.
“It’s hard when you lose a pastor, so there’s a lot of grief and anxiety,” Frese said. “I’m here to help them get back together again after their previous pastor left, and the next pastor will help them envision their future and then they will get a permanent pastor after that.”
Frese has long been an Angeleno—he moved to Whittier, California, from Chicago when he was just 4 years old and grew up in the area.
He now lives in Mar Vista and enjoys hiking, classical music, visiting Walt Disney Concert Hall and getting to know the city of Los Angeles.
“I’m 76 years old and before I kick the bucket, I want to see more of this great city,” Frese said. “So many interesting historical neighborhoods.”
Frese shared that he’s been enjoying his commute from Mar Vista up to the Palisades, driving up Pacific Coast Highway and marveling at the ocean every day.
He also shared that his experience in the Palisades so far has been nothing short of welcoming.
“When I walk my dog in Mar Vista in the morning and the evening, I say hello to people and very few people say hello back to me—but in Pacific Palisades, people say hello to me,” Frese said about the community.
“The people are very upbeat and proactive and friendly here, it’s a really happy experience for me right now.”
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