I have deeply valued the connections the presbytery has provided – from meeting new people over a meal at a presbytery meeting to the synod-wide “new pastors” program to gathering to do committee work.
Opportunities to gather together to share stories and support each other in the presbytery have changed in course of the past few years — which is why I am all the more excited that the presbytery is investing in this need to be connected and experiment with creative ways to move forward together.
The Presbytery of Chicago created the position of Director of Connectional Relationships (in partnership with the Synod of Lincoln Trails) to build and strengthen the fibers of connection between the presbytery and its congregations. In this role, I will work with ministers and leaders throughout the presbytery and synod to share resources and ideas. So many of our churches are doing incredible, creative ministry. My hope is to share those stories and resources (and others from around the denomination) to spur our collective imagination of what might be possible in the Presbytery of Chicago — and to make it easier to experiment with these ideas by sharing tools and resources that have already been created.
I have a heart for helping congregations live into the God-given calling — without having to build everything from the ground up. Nothing is better than sharing the story of a ministry and hearing, “Now, we can’t do that exact thing here, but what if we tried….?” To dream together of new expression of God’s love and grace invigorates this work. So, let’s dream together!
Let’s get to know each other! I’d love to visit your ministry site, get together over lunch, and talk about how things are going and what you need. A little about me: In my former life (before seminary), I was in medical communications specializing in neuroscience and psychiatry, primarily developing continuing education for physicians. A graduate of Dubuque Seminary, I was ordained by Chicago Presbytery and spent 10 years as associate editor of the Presbyterian Outlook; served as Director of Communications for Worship Times (building websites and communication strategies for churches around the country); pastored Rogers Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago; and worked as communications consultant for nonprofits and ministries.
What’s your ministry like these days? What is exciting you? Where do you see the Spirit at work? And, what’s causing you grief? What would help ease the burden?
As we venture forward together, I want to hear from you. What do you need from the presbytery? How can the presbytery support you? Let me know.
Do you want to talk about communications? Review your social media, newsletters, and overall strategy? Let’s talk!
Are you looking for a conversation partner to think about resources for your context or to imagine about the future of church? Let’s get coffee!
I look forward to serving alongside you and supporting the good work that you have been called to do. I can’t wait to hear your stories. Know that I am praying for you and am here to support you. This is a critical and exciting time for the church. Let’s learn from each other and listen for how the Spirit is guiding us together.
— Jana Blazek, Director of Connectional Relationships