A preacher and a lawyer walk into room and sit in the same chair. It sounds like the start of joke, but it’s an accurate description of our new pastor.

Rev. Keith Coker comes to QQUMC from England First UMC in Lonoke County, and also from a dual career in the law and the ministry. Licensed as an attorney in 1990, Keith became a commissioned lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in 1995. After becoming a United Methodist in 2008, Keith then entered the candidacy process to become a licensed local pastor.

Since 1995, Keith has kept one foot in both the legal and ministerial worlds. The Arkansas Conference has other preacher/lawyers, too. It may seem like a strange combination, but many skills are common to both careers, such as oral and written communication, research, administration, and advising those in crisis. The goals are different, but both focus on the well-being of those they serve.

While an undergraduate at Hendrix College, Keith met his wife, Sarah Kate Meriwether of Conway. Sarah is a classroom teacher in the Conway School District, teaching literacy and reading at Ruth Doyle Middle School. Their boys are both now at Hendrix. Sam is a junior. Joe will be a freshman this fall. Keith, Sarah, and the boys enjoy books, music, and movies.

Keith strives to bring the scriptures to listeners through historical analysis and by explaining the context of the world in which they were written, as well as how they relate to the world of today. He says, “Increasing our knowledge of scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit deepens the understanding of believers and inspires seekers to seek further. It provides us all with a clearer vision of the people and world around us and brings us closer to discerning the will of God. It is then that we are truly empowered to be God’s instruments for transforming the world.”

Keith says he is excited to be at QQUMC in the midst of such an outwardly focused and open-hearted congregation.  “I am looking forward to being a part of what God is already doing here and tackling the challenges of continuing a downtown ministry in such a beautiful and historic setting,” he says. “I believe that showing love and compassion to our sisters and brothers is the heart of the gospel, but I understand that ministry must function in a world that is indifferent to need and hostile to mercy. Even still, hope remains, and God still speaks to and opens doors for those who are willing to listen and to become servants to those they encounter.”