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Plant City’s First Baptist selects new worship pastor

PLANT CITY – A Virginia minister who is an accomplished musician will soon be the worship pastor at Plant City’s First Baptist Church.

Ken Van Cura will start Aug. 23 at First Baptist, 503 N. Palmer St. He has 15 years experience in the ministry, the last four years as worship pastor at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond.

First Baptist’s membership voted unanimously July 26 in favor of hiring Van Cura.

He replaces pastor Pete Battaglia, who retired last September after 25 years directing First Baptist’s worship and music ministry.

Dr. Brian Stowe, senior pastor at First Baptist, said he and other church leaders visited Grove Avenue Baptist to see Van Cura in action at a worship service.

“We were very impressed with him. As they say, we just clicked,” he said.

Van Cura is not only an accomplished musician, but he is a man of faith and integrity, Stowe said.

“I was impressed with his character. Ability can be learned but character is what you are,” he said.

Van Cura pursued a career as an opera baritone before he went into the ministry, according to information from First Baptist. He spent 11 years as a minister at Baptist churches in Texas, including at Boerne, DeSoto and San Antonio before moving to Virginia in July 2011.

Van Cura co-directed and produced seasonal TV broadcasts and published a solo worship album this year. He writes his own songs.

He holds a bachelor’s and master’s in vocal performance from Baylor University and expects to earn a doctorate in worship studies in 2018.

He and his wife Cherie have two sons, Aidan and Ashton.

First Baptist is one of Plant City’s largest churches.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

dnicholson@tampatrib.com

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