After several months of an intense search process, we are thrilled to announce that Reverend Jennifer Gracen has accepted a 2 year full-time interim minister position with Tree of Life! Rev. Jenn, as she refers to herself, earned her Masters of Divinity from Andover-Newton Theological School in Massachusetts. She then served as an intern minister with congregations in Napa, California and Ottowa, Ontario. Her first called ministry was in Danville, Indiana. She then went on to serve as a transition minister in DeKalb, Illinois and most recently as interim minister in Clarklake, Michigan.
Through her written ministerial record, videos of her sermons, and in our interview with her, the team was unanimously impressed by Rev. Jenn’s energy and warmth. She expressed a love of preaching, an understanding of the important work of interim ministry, a commitment to pastoral care, and an eagerness to help the congregation re-examine its mission and vision. Former congregants describe Rev. Jenn as a creative, committed and generous minister who works well across all age groups, and helped prepare their congregations for their next settled ministry. Rev. Lisa Presley, MidAmerica region’s Congregational Life Consultant, enthusiastically endorsed Rev. Jenn, saying, “She is well-respected by her colleagues, and we are a cranky and judgmental lot!”
Rev. Jenn and her wife, Virginia, (pictured above left to right: Virginia and Rev. Jenn) are planning to move to the area this summer with their two cats and lots of books. She describes her primary personal interests on her ministerial website, revgracen.com as “stories and discovery.” She enjoys hiking, story-based games and lots of reading (especially fiction). We are eagerly anticipating her August 1st start with Tree of Life and are excited to discover what our new, shared vision will hold.
Respectfully submitted by your Board and Search Team:
Leah Mikkelson, President, Board of Trustees
Irene Raven, Interim President-Elect and Search Team
Randy Meyer, Treasurer
Mike Bissett, Secretary
Steve Lyons, Trustee
Patrick Kerin, Trustee
Marcia Johnson, Trustee and Search team
Carol Alfus, Chair of Worship Arts and Search Team
Ron Relic, Search Team
M.E. Tanabe, Search Team
Patrick Murfin, Search Team
Lisa Messinger, Search Team