First Faith Experience

Jen (center) didn’t grow up with a strong faith background but she had lots of friends who attended church and was interested in learning about the Bible.

I grew up in a family of mostly progressive, non-believer types. My family attended church a few times off and on when was young, but my mom never stuck with it.

She didn’t get to go to Sunday school as a child, but always knew that she wanted her own children to grow up in a faith community.

I felt a calling early on and just had to wait until I was an adult and could pursue my desire to learn about faith on my own. I feel like maybe God intervened early on for me and put a desire for faith in my heart even before I could express it openly in the world as an adult.

Jen’s favorite Bible verse is Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

It’s a verse that a friend shared with me during a stressful time in my life, and it touched me so deeply at that time. It’s one I’ve gone back to many times as I’ve needed it.

When she and Adam married, they joined Holy Trinity, a small church in New Hope, then came to Zion a few years ago when they moved to Buffalo.

We have three awesome kids: Lulu our spunky 8 year old athlete and performer, Wilder, our 6 year old artist and reader, and Poppy, our 4 year old dancer and comedian. We wanted a place with lots of kids and lots of things for kids to do. It’s important to me for my kids to grow up surrounded by faith and have that faith community.

The first time we visited Zion the person who opened the door to greet us was so warm, friendly, and genuinely welcoming that we were really impressed just walking through the door. The people in the church were friendly and warm and I really liked the mix of personalities between Pastor Ted & Pastor Luke. Listening to the choir sing “Built on the Rock the Church Doth Stand” moved me to tears during one of those earlier visits (as they have many times since – the choir is amazing). I knew pretty early on that Zion was a great fit for our family-so many things felt right.

Jen has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. She has worked as a 911 dispatcher for Minneapolis Police/Fire/EMS, and as a Corporate Trainer for a Fortune 500. She became a stay at home mom in 2008 and does occasional childcare in her home.

Spending my time with kids is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done, I absolutely love it. It’s never work when you love what you do.

When the nursery director position opened up, Jen knew it would be a good fit for her.

I absolutely positively love little ones, and now that my youngest is a “big girl” in Sunday school, I knew I’d miss being able to play with and enjoy babies and toddlers. I see the nursery as the first opportunity to share God’s love with our youngest members.

Jen’s goal is that each child finds the nursery to be a warm, comforting, and fun place that they are eager to visit each week.

For many of our little ones, it’s not only their first experience in faith, but their first experience being separated from mom & dad. I never take for granted the fact that parents trust us and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get to know and enjoy each of them individually. They’re all so special, and seeing them each week gives me joy.

I love seeing little ones go from being nervous to be away from mom or dad their first few times, to excitedly pulling their parents towards the nursery. I absolutely adore all the hugs and smiles and the chance to get to know each little one. I’m a grown up that gets to spend my time in the nursery playing, laughing, cuddling, and singing —how lucky is that? Even in the last few weeks, we’ve seen little ones go from sitting to crawling, and crawling to walking. It’s so awesome to be able to cheer our little ones on as they grow and develop.

Jen keeps busy with her kids’ many sports and activities. She also enjoys reading, gardening, family fun nights, and spending time with her husband.

Jen is assisted in the nursery by Emma Gordon (right) and Shelby Thingvold (left).

Emma is a stay at home mom of four girls, who lives in Monticello.

I’ve loved becoming a new addition to the Zion family and getting to know everyone so well. I can’t wait to watch our nursery kiddos grow as they blossom with us in our little nook! Everyone has been so loving and open and kind I look forward to being a part of the children’s ministry team for a long time!!

Emma is a member of the Monticello At Home Moms Network and enjoys reading, sewing, crafting (mainly making reclaimed wood signs), and spending time with her family outside or playing games and reading.

Shelby is a senior at Buffalo High School. She has grown up at Zion, was baptized and confirmed here, and has been a VBS volunteer for several years. She likes that Zion is youth-oriented and a fun place to worship. Shelby’s main interest outside of school is dance, and she was looking for an enjoyable part-time job that would fit into her busy schedule.


Feel free to stop by the nursery to meet the staff, since Jen and Emma are relatively new to the church and don’t know many members.