The Rev. Jonathan Knight, who for six months has served as interim pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, was selected by congregation members Sunday to become the church's permanent senior pastor.
Jack Rader, an ex-officio member of the search committee that decided to present Knight as the pastoral candidate, said Knight was "overwhelmingly endorsed" in Sunday's vote.
Rader said he was not sure how many of the church's nearly 1,700 members voted, but he said there was "a really good turnout."
Knight, 36, was associate pastor at the church in December when problems with then-senior pastor, the Rev. Kendall Baker, resulted in his dismissal. Knight, who as associate pastor had been mostly involved with youth education at the church, assumed the responsibilities of both senior pastor and associate pastor.
Rader said that even though Knight was the only candidate the search committee considered, "there were some definite steps we had to go through" before Knight's selection could be voted upon.
Part of the process involved conducting a church survey to develop a profile of what congregation members wanted in a senior pastor. Rader said the profile touched on such things as the candidate's effectiveness as a preacher, the use of traditional and contemporary worship procedures and the candidate's relationship with staff and church members.
Baker had been dismissed from the church due to problems with his staff and his inability to communicate well with church members. Baker has accepted a pastoral post at a church in San Bernardino, Calif.
Before coming to Plymouth in March 1989, Knight had been minister for education and youth at Union Church United Church of Christ in Hinsdale, Ill. Before that, he served as associate pastor at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Palatine, Ill.
Knight earned a master's degree at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo., and an undergraduate degree at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind.
Knight and his wife, Dianne, have three children, Joshua, 10, Kyle, 8, and Elizabeth, 6.
Rader said a search committee will be appointed to choose an associate pastor.