Two area churches hire youth directors

This article submitted by Linda Stelling/Stephanie Everson on 8/12/97.

Linda Jensen-Grace United Methodist Church
After 32 years, Paynesville native, Linda Jensen, has returned to her home town to accept a position at Grace United Methodist Church as the director of youth and family ministries.

Jensen started in her new position on Aug. 1. She and her husband moved to Paynesville from Albert Lea where she has served as director of education and spiritual renewal at First Lutheran Church, ELCA.

Jensen has been certified an associate in ministry, parish education associate and a church staff associate in the Lutheran church. While in Albert Lea, she worked in a number of different areas, including after school ministry programs for grades three through six, liturgist for worship services, coordinated new member program, conducted training workshops, developed a ďCare CardĒ ministry program, coordinated and taught confirmation classes, development of youth and adult leadership, and more.

ďMy goal, here in Paynesville, is to get to know the congregation and its youth, and get reacquainted with the community,Ē Jensen said. ďAfter being gone 32 years, a lot of changes have taken place.Ē Jensen is the daughter of Gerald Burr and sister of Jerry Burr. She graduated from Paynesville Area High School in 1965 and attended the University of Minnesota and Mankato State.

ďIíd like to get the after school program started again and look forward to working with the new member program.Ē
She and Don have three grown daughters, Kristin Heaton, Boston, Mass.; Melissa Lasasso, Savage, and Donelle Jensen, Mason City, Iowa. Don is the new insurance agency manager at Community First National Bank.

On Sunday, Aug. 24, Grace United Methodist Church will be hosting a pot- luck reception for Linda and Don following the second service at 11 a.m. In the afternoon there will be an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. for the entire community to welcome them to the area.

ďWe are very happy to be here and looking forward to retiring in Paynesville,Ē she said.

Grayling Trees-Paynesville Evangelical Free Church
Grayling Trees, a man whose greatest desire is evangelizing to youth, recently took on the duties of pastor of family ministries at the Paynesville Evangelical Free Church.

Trees and his wife, Sandra, spent the last 19 years in France while he pastored a church there. His two sons, Luke and Josh, now in high school, grew up in the French culture.

While in France, Trees spent much of his time ministering to young people about his faith, and now plans to use his new opportunity with the Evangelical Free Church to do the same in the Paynesville area. His job description is varied; at this point, even he's not sure exactly what it entails, but his real mission is to reach young people with the message of Christianity.

Trees said he plans to use more contemporary Christian outreach activities that youth are already interested in, such as music and sports, to spark their interst in the church's youth programs. With the church's new recreational building and facilities built within the past few years, there will be more space and resources available to hold more outreach activities.

Although he was born into a Christian home, Trees didn't embrace the Christian faith in his own life until he was 24. During his years in Christian ministry, evangelizing to young people has become a vital aspect of his ministry.

He commented that kids generally tend to be more open to different ideas. He hopes his ministry efforts will be an important and positive influence in their lives while they're young so they will be strong in their faith when they're old.

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