Pastor Dave Hedgepeth received his call to full-time ministry in eighth grade, but God had to do a lot of work on him before he really claimed that call.
Dave and his parents lived in El Paso, Texas at that time. They went to a Lutheran church, and loved the pastor, the youth group, and many other aspects, but also experienced the pain of a church split. When Dave went to Texas Christian University in 1985, he majored in Religion-Studies, but didn’t go to church very much – in fact, despite his confirmation in the Lutheran church and his call to ministry, he shortly found that he was agnostic at best.
His faith was changing and growing, however, and between 1989 and 1993, he (1) studied at Vanderbilt Divinity School, graduation in 1993 with an Master of Divinity degree, (2) joined Vine Street Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ church and an amazing place of growth for him, (3) had a life changing experience at a Disciples of Christ students conference, where his faith was renewed, and (4) got involved in various social change efforts, including some eye-opening experiences with the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter, Room in the Inn (a ministry with homeless people), and a peace organization called Sane/Freeze. The volunteer work with Sane/Freeze led to his first full time job, as the Program Director of what became Nashville Peace Action.
Dave didn’t start that job until the summer after his work in the Grand Teton National Park with an organization called “A Christian Ministry in the National Parks,” in which he waited tables at a restaurant during the week, and led worship outdoors with park visitors on Sunday mornings. It was here, in 1992, that he met Monica Hardcastle.
The two lived in Nashville until 1995, when they moved to Logan, Utah where Monica’s family was from. Dave worked at a car wash for a year, and had other jobs for his first several years in Utah, including motor-skills work with special needs children in elementary schools, and as an educator with CAPSA, a local organization working to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. But it was doing ministry for 10 years at First Presbyterian Church in Logan, first as a volunteer and eventually as the lead pastor, where he finally and truly claimed his call.
Dave and Monica married in 1997 (they lived in Utah at that time, but travelled back to Nashville and Vine Street Christian Church for the wedding). Monica had received her Associates Degree at Nashville Tech in Computer-Aided Drafting, and when they moved to Utah, she worked at the architectural firm where her dad was a partner. Their first child, Noah, was born in 2000.
They loved Utah. However, Monica’s parents and her brother’s family moved to Phoenix in 2005; Dave’s parents had been living in the Tucson area for a number of years; and Dave could not continue to serve in a Presbyterian Church and remain a Disciples pastor. So, in God’s good timing, Dave began searching for a position in Arizona, at the same time Community Christian began searching for a pastor – and in 2006, a match was made in heaven.
Dave and Monica had their second child, Reese, in 2009. Reese is in 4th grade. She loves swimming, drama, and her iPad. Noah is a freshman at University of Colorado, Boulder, working toward an aerospace engineering degree. He enjoys snow boarding, mountain biking, and video gaming. In addition to being the family’s activity coordinator and taxi driver, Monica volunteers at Reese’s school and on the church’s A/V team, and she enjoys scrapbooking, doing puzzles, and watching TV (she and Dave are huge “Survivor” fans).
They are grateful in so many ways for their parents, and to their church family in Marana, where they hope to be for many years to come.
Dave believes that Jesus Christ is the hope of the world, and intends to lead the church in following His commission to make disciples, and His commandment to love God, and love others as ourselves.