November 2023 Member Spotlight – Ken Iobst

If it were not for hormones, Ken Iobst might never have found Unitarian Universalism. The Moravian boy from Pennsylvania was in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in 1967 on a work study program, and he and his fellow student were having difficulty meeting anyone to date. His friend suggested going to the UU fellowship. On stage, he saw his future wife Barbara Schreiber and friend Marcia Joiner singing and dancing. Ken and Barbara joined UUCSS in 1978. His sons Adam and twins Wayne and Paul grew up in the church and Paul is a member here with his own family. He met his partner Alexa at UUCSS, and their son Nathan also grew up in the church. But talking with Ken, you find that the past while good and eventful is not his focus. Instead, his focus is this moment and in particular this moment that you might be sharing with him.

Ken tells a story about driving along with the car window down when a small child waved at him. He said at that moment he had a choice, to teach that the world doesn’t care or to teach that the world is a welcoming place, and so, of course, he waved back. During coffee hour he seeks out newcomers to enjoy conversation and look for some connection, something to share so that perhaps they would come back. Or on one of his cross-country bike trips, enjoying conversations with people with very different world views who he would be unlikely to meet again. When asked about his best experiences with UUCSS he mentions serving food at the ten weddings at the Universalist National Memorial Church and sharing the joy in the moment that these couples had in being legally recognized.

Ken’s hobbies are few but intense. He has just become a Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League with his partner Ed Johnson. And he’s an avid cyclist. Ken has been part of the information tech team at UUCSS since the outset. When asked what he’d like to say to the congregation, he said simply to be who we are and find ways to welcome and honor young families with children. Listening to children and seeing through their eyes is magical, and that magic is part of how we thrive as a congregation.