Rev. Jennifer Brooks currently serves as the Interim Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, a 600-member congregation in Central Ohio. Committed to transition ministry, she is an Accredited Interim Minister (AIM); a member of the interfaith Interim Ministry Network; and she serves on the three-member Steering Committee of the UUA’s Interim Ministry Guild, which is the professional organization for UU ministers committed to intentional, focused, attentive transitional ministry.
Rev. Jen says that effective transitional work “creates a solid foundation for a successful new settlement.” Her background in multicultural settings, her sense of adventure, and even her experience with managing conflict all translate well to intentional interim ministry. After an eight-year settled ministry, she says, “I gave in to my yearning to accompany congregations through the challenge and possibility of transition. In this work I find deep joy. It is the outpouring of my love for Life and for my UU people.”
Rev. Jen raised her two adopted children of color in what the kids called “our UN family.” Jamie, who traveled to the U.S. from South Korea at the age of four months, is now married and lives with her husband, Chris, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Kevin, who is African-American, joined the family at the age of one day. Now in community college, Kevin will come to Des Moines with Rev. Jennifer.
Rev. Jen says: “The tapestry of my life informs and energizes my work as a parish minister. I’ve learned the importance of treating people with respect, listening carefully, and trying to spot the way that different ‘perception filters’ create misunderstanding. The most satisfying moment is when people who see things differently begin to understand one another. It may not cause them to agree, but it keeps them working together, keeps them moving toward compassion. Life is a journey, and we’re all traveling together in our small ‘blue boat’ home.”
Before coming to Columbus, Rev. Jen served as Interim Senior Minister of the 700-member congregation in Oakton, Virginia. She has been an intentional interim minister since 2011; previously, she served for eight years in settled ministry on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. Before entering the ministry, she was a lawyer in international development and a law professor.