Mennonite Health JournalArticles on the intersection of faith and health
Faith at Work: Our Faith Moves Us
Tim Leaman, MD & Jen Leaman, MSW
from Mennonite Health Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3 – August 2014
The following article is based on a plenary session presentation made by the authors on June 14 at the Annual Gathering 2014 at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center. (See overview article elsewhere in this issue.) Their reflections are shaped by their journey over the last 15 years of living and working in several Philadelphia neighborhoods. Tim works as a family physician at Esperanza Health Center, a Christian community health center with several sites in North Philadelphia and Kensington. He works at the Kensington office, a few miles from the Oxford Circle neighborhood where their family lives and where they are active at the multi-cultural Oxford Circle Mennonite Church. Jen is trained as a social worker and has worked in that field in various capacities. More recently, she has spent more of her time and energy as one of the founding board members of the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association, a non-profit community center birthed in 2008 by the Oxford Circle congregation. Their presentation was based on the following scripture passage from 2 Corinthians 5:13-21.
If we are “out of our mind,” it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This scripture has become very pivotal for us in understanding how God moves us—how God calls us and sends us as the people of God. This passage has been an important text for us personally in hearing God’s call. It has also shaped the life of our congregation at Oxford Circle Mennonite Church over the last ten years or so in understanding how God is moving us on our journey together in sharing His love in our neighborhood and city.
God is making all things new! God has given us as a people both the ministry and the message of reconciliation. Our training is in medicine and social work. Much of our professional experience has centered on working for health in individuals and communities. Yet we have experienced God’s vision for the New Creation, coming both in individuals and neighborhoods, which is so much bigger than our frequently limited imaginations.
We recently heard Aaron Graham, pastor of the District Church in Washington, D.C., remind those at the Christian Community Health Fellowship annual gathering that “God is not just in the healing business; God is in the Resurrection business.”
God is concerned for people: that their diabetes is managed well, that their infections are treated, that they feel safe and motivated to be able to exercise on their streets. God desires excellent counseling and access to treatment for those with mental health needs. Yet God’s plans for people and the world go far beyond managing diseases. God is in the business of bringing new life, resurrection, in the fullness of its breadth and depth.
God’s desire is to bring wholeness (shalom) at every level—physically, spiritually, emotionally, socially, economically. God desires to reconcile individuals, to transform hearts and lives through the Gospel, to minister to bodies and spirits. God wants to use transformed individuals to restore neighborhoods—to bring health to schools, to restore marriages, to create meaningful work. God takes lives and neighborhoods that the world has given up on and restores dignity and purpose and life.
The 2 Corinthians text highlights the powerful responsibility given to the people of God to be God’s ambassadors, God’s representatives who function in two ways. God’s people are ministers (priests) of God’s reconciliation who serve and love and meet the needs of their neighbors. God’s people are also messengers of God’s reconciliation who boldly give voice to God’s invitation to be reconciled to God. These messengers implore their neighbors and friends to look to Christ to receive forgiveness of sins and newness of life.
As we continue to grow into God’s vision for health, God continues to move us in ways that have been stretching and surprising–exciting, but often uncomfortable. We name three ways in which we have experienced God’s call moving us–ways in which we believe God at some level moves all of us as God’s people.
God Moves Us to New Neighborhoods
“The WORD moved into the neighborhood.”
This is how Eugene Peterson in The Message version of the Bible, translates the familiar verse in John 1:14, where many versions read, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us.”
This is John’s version of the incarnation story. When Jesus relocated from heaven to earth, emerging as a baby in a stable in Bethlehem, God moved into the neighborhood. We believe that God is still very much about moving into neighborhoods. Our pastor, Leonard Dow, often asks, “If God loves the neighborhood of Oxford Circle, how will they know?”
Part of our congregation’s journey has been a strong conviction that God was calling us to be present in our neighborhood beyond the four walls of our church. And in that way, we are literally allowing God’s presence in us to move into the neighborhood.
God’s story is about moving into relationship with a people and then moving that people into places and relationships for God’s own purposes. Mission literally means being sent, being moved.
Sometimes God moves us geographically and sometimes God moves us into new vision for the neighborhoods where we are already located. In our case, God has been doing both. To step back a moment, we want to each tell you briefly where we came from.
Jen’s Story: I was born in a small town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Christian parents. I grew up in a Mennonite church and attended Mennonite schools for both elementary and high school. My family rarely ventured into the city except for an occasional Phillies game.
During and immediately following high school, I spent some time in Baltimore under Eastern Mennonite Missions’ short term mission programs. It was then that God birthed in me a vision for urban areas. This vision for the city influenced my decision to attend Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. While there, I sensed God leading me to finish school in the city, so I transferred to Temple University and finished my Bachelors and Masters degrees in social work there. Tim and I met through participating in an intentional community of Christian students while I was in college and Tim was in medical school.
Tim’s Story: I was born and raised in Philadelphia. When I was five, our family moved into the Oxford Circle neighborhood where my parents would pastor at Oxford Circle Mennonite for over twenty years. During my growing up years, the community was a nearly all-white, blue-collar Catholic neighborhood.
When I left for college I thought I was headed to overseas medical missions and didn’t anticipate returning to Philadelphia. However, along the way, I spent several terms in Eastern Mennonite Missions’ Youth Evangelism Service (YES) during and after college. Through a number of twists and turns, I began to feel God stirring in me a call to urban medical ministry. This call, in turn eventually led me back to Philadelphia and to re-involvement in the church in which I had grown up.
During the years I was in college and medical school, the neighborhood of Oxford Circle (as well as our congregation) was in the midst of a dramatic demographic transition, to the point where the neighborhood of Oxford Circle is now identified in recent census data as both the most diverse (in terms of number of different ethnic groups represented) and the most rapidly growing neighborhood in the city.
Jen and I got married while I was in medical residency and we felt God calling us to put down roots in the city. I began work at Esperanza, while Jen worked in several social work positions. We bought a house about a mile from our church. During the eight years we lived there our three children were born.
The Story Continues: About six years ago, we felt God gently nudging us to consider moving to the immediate neighborhood where our church is located. We had originally bought a spacious house knowing it was in walking distance of Esperanza’s office at the time and not far from our church. We had remodeled significant portions of the house ourselves and had every anticipation of spending our foreseeable future there. During our years there, six or seven other families from our church had clustered within a few blocks around us. But our house was on the other side of a major highway from the church, and increasingly we were realizing that this served as a major dividing line between two neighborhoods, not only physically, but socioeconomically.
Our church non-profit organization was actively launching important programs to serve the Oxford Circle neighborhood. These included after school and summer programming for youth, as well as adult education and English language programs. We were attempting to respond to community needs including rapidly rising unemployment, flagging school performance rates, rising rates of single headed households, decreasing home ownership rates, and a surging population.
Most of all, God had been teaching us through our involvements with friends in the neighborhood (see sidebar) that relationships are even more important than programs (as critical as good programs are). God’s love is known through God’s people in relationships–through neighbors sharing lives, friendships, networks, burdens, and testimonies. We were hearing God’s tug to move into the immediate blocks around our church and to allow our lives to be knit together with what God was doing in that neighborhood.
This move felt like a big step to let go of the house and neighborhood where we had been living happily for eight years and to begin to embrace a new neighborhood, especially knowing that the available rowhouses in Oxford Circle were more compact than the house to which we had grown accustomed. God was very faithful in doing the work in our hearts and bringing us both to a place of excitement about the possibility of living very close to our church. Then, God provided an amazing house for us and we moved there in May 2009.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.
One very practical question that we have wrestled with through this journey is what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” What does it mean to be part of a church community that represents families who come from widely different backgrounds with very different educational and economic opportunities?
It is our growing conviction that loving our neighbors and loving our brothers and sisters in our church family as ourselves, means that it becomes our shared concern if our brothers and sisters don’t have access to a school system that is working, if we don’t all have a safe place to live, if some of us have access to jobs that more than adequately provide, and some don’t have access to jobs at all.
There are no simple solutions to these questions. Yet, we have felt that for us as a family at this present time, God’s movement involved locating ourselves in a neighborhood where we can more readily engage with our neighbors in the daily work of building a healthy community. This includes using schools of that community, sharing in keeping its spaces clean, and playing in its parks. We find that we have a significantly different level of ownership and voice in those places because it is where we live too.
Living in the neighborhood where we feel that God has sent us out as a congregation also gives opportunities to build relationships, not just because we are inviting someone to come to a program that the church is running, but because we live next door. Bob Lupton, a Christian community developer in Atlanta writes, “Being invested in one’s community—and living there—yields the fruit of healthy self-interest.”
We are all naturally motivated to invest energies in supporting our children’s school community, in keeping our street clean, and in working for community safety. God’s movement of our family has aligned our natural energies and self-interest and applied them together with neighbors in the specific geography over which our congregation for years has been praying and investing. Lupton says elsewhere “Good neighbors are better than good programs any day.”
God keeps teaching us what that means, and that leads to the next way that God moves us.
God Moves Us Out Of Our Comfort Zones
When we sensed God calling us to move into the Oxford Circle neighborhood, our oldest son, Isaiah, was just starting his last year of preschool. We started strongly sensing that if God were calling us to Oxford Circle and to love our neighbors as ourselves that meant investing ourselves as fully in our neighborhood and God’s work there as possible.
One of the practical ways we sensed that this could happen was by enrolling Isaiah in the local neighborhood school. This was a big step for us, to send him to a public school, when both of us had attended private Christian schools. It was an even bigger step to send him to this public school with languishing standardized test scores and large class sizes and where he was sure to be a racial minority.
As we look back on this decision, it’s hard to remember it as one requiring a lot more faith than many other decisions we have made in the years since then. Many of our decisions have taken us out of our comfort zones and into the realm of God’s great provision.
Isaiah is now about to enter fifth grade, Josiah second grade, and Ana, kindergarten. All are still at Carnell Elementary School. It has not always been easy but our overwhelming sense as we look over our years in the Oxford Circle neighborhood is that God has been so faithful. Where we’ve taken small steps “out of the boat” and many times feared the wind and the waves when we’ve waded into areas where our feet can’t touch the bottom, God has carried us through every time.
Jen’s experiences at Carnell
The experience at Carnell has been continuous cycles of prayer and steps of faith:
- I asked for and was granted permission to lead weekly music sessions in each of the boys’ classes. This led to eventually volunteering in other capacities, helping to recruit other parent volunteers, and being an advocate to our principal for better substitutes and preparatory teachers.
- I became fearful and sometimes even cowering in the face of one past principal’s policy not to allow parents in the classrooms of their children. With very few parents committing to volunteer in any way, an abundance of red tape, and systems that were so big, it seemed that real change was impossible. Then came the reminders that this is not the reality to which God called us. So we prayed, our church prayed, and we have seen God move. The principal who was unfriendly to parents left suddenly and for the rest of the school year (right after we started praying). I noticed the few but very devoted parents who give to the school in amazing ways (and who, because of their volunteer work, may have a real opportunity of getting a job with the school district).
In the midst of huge systems, I am reminded that for many hours a week, I get the privilege of speaking life to many kids. Living in places outside of my comfort zone has been a continuous dance of faith, of falling and of experiencing God’s rescue.
God has also shown me that when I am in a place of needing something, of not being in control, of letting go of my savior complex, that this does wonders for relationships and forging deeper friendships. When Ana was a baby and really needed to nap past the school pick-up time, God brought a mother of one of Isaiah’s classmates into my life and she made many pickups for me and I took her daughter to school many mornings. That mutual help we gave to one another is what real relationships are made of. Thus, one of the deepest friendships I’ve experienced at Carnell has happened because I allowed myself to need something from someone else.
I recently heard someone say “Self-sufficiency is relational suicide.” That really resonated with me. It reminded me of the only time I’ve been inside my next door neighbor’s home. It was the afternoon I locked myself and our three kids out of our house and no one else in our neighborhood had a spare set of keys (which may still be the case). Maria noticed that we were locked out and sent one of her daughters to invite us into her home. She made us feel very welcome in her living room and provided my kids with as much juice, cookies and cable TV cartoons as they could ask for. They were very happy.
I don’t believe it was a coincidence that the only time this happened with this particular neighbor was when we were out of control, when we needed something from someone. To deny her hospitality in that situation, to tell her that we were fine and I would remain outside with my kids, but “in control,” would have forfeited this window into a deeper relationship with Maria and her family.
In learning to allow neighbors to serve and bless us, we have appreciated the thoughts of South African missiologist David Bosch, who states, “The best I can give somebody is to enable them to become a giver.” This statement is the positive reciprocal of a commonly stated community development principle which says that the deepest form of poverty is when people feel that they have nothing of value to give.
We believe that a significant part of our ministry is to see that those in our community have the opportunity to become givers. We believe that there are already present in our neighborhood many with skills and talents and wisdom to rebuild the broken places. There are those whom God is desiring to raise up as “oaks of righteousness” who will display His splendor. Some of our job is to know how to get out of the way at the right times to allow space for new gifts to be utilized and to allow new leaders to grow.
It is an exciting thing when we reach points where we can have authentic relationships with our neighbors, when we have relationships where we give and we also receive. It is an area in which we are still learning and growing.
Along with this, God has been challenging us to be not only people who live our faith out (ministers of reconciliation) but also to be people who share about our faith (messengers of reconciliation). In our quest to live and love like Jesus Christ, we recognize that He not only came to our neighborhood and loved us immeasurably and unconditionally, healed our diseases and fed us, but He also came and preached the Gospel – the good news that there is a remedy to this problem we all have with sin and His name is Jesus Christ.
We want to be people who are “spiritually obvious” without being obnoxious. We want to be able to share with our neighbors in winsome ways (as Ron Sider likes to put it) how we have been transformed by Jesus Christ. We want to do this not because we are trying to fill some quota or to grow our church or to simply do our duty, but because we love them that much.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This command was second only to loving God with our whole being. So we moved into the neighborhood because of this command and as we invest ourselves in the neighborhood and the schools, we learn to know our neighbors and figure out how to let go of control so that we can receive from our neighbors and have authentic relationships. Then, out of the authenticity of those relationships, we can share with our new friends that single most important and life-transforming thing in our lives, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to speak this and often. We need to speak this to believers and non-believers. We need to speak this so that our friends and neighbors will hear the Gospel and so that we will remember what God has done in our lives and how far He has brought us and how much we still need a Savior.
God Moves Us into Dependency on Him
We have experienced that when we step into listening for God’s dreams for new creation activity in the lives of our neighbors, our patients, our families, and our community systems, we encounter situation after situation where we feel totally inadequate. Our vision exceeds our capacity.
As we catch glimpses of God’s heart, we generally start by working as hard as we can to fix the things that appear to be broken in our patients, our neighbors, and our communities. Yet we quickly realize that we can’t fix everything. We pour hours of energy into someone’s life and they make choices that are unfathomable to us. We see someone makes leaps and bounds of growth only to relapse into addiction. We see people in whom much has been invested walk out of faith communities or out of marriages. We pick up trash and watch people walk down the street re-covering the sidewalk with litter.
So we get frustrated and cynical. We get discouraged and angry. In doing so, we run headlong into our own brokenness. We experience our own tendency to draw our worth from the outcomes of our work or our church involvements and ministry. Our tendency is to think that God owes us the results we want because of our sacrifice. When things become difficult, our tendency is to doubt God’s power and to doubt God’s goodness.
Our tendency is to work too much, to assume too much control, and to rely too much on ourselves. In other words, we try to insert ourselves in God’s place. We have dreams of joining with God in fixing the world and find that we don’t really enjoy spending time with our neighbor. We find that our co-workers get on our nerves. We come home from an intense day and find it too easy to snap at our kids, easier to surf the Internet than pray.
Yet it is in these places, when we reach the end of ourselves, that we are in the best place possible for God’s grace to find us. It is in this place of vulnerability, where we are most likely to recognize how God is continuing to preach the Gospel to us.
As one of our favorite spiritual writers, Tim Keller, states: “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
One of the more unfortunate failings of the church today is that we often think the Gospel is only something to share with unbelievers. We forget to preach the Gospel to ourselves. We don’t need to fix people, because we can’t fix people. We can’t even fix ourselves. But we have a Savior, who in this miraculous exchange, took our sins and gave us righteousness and reconciled us to himself. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
When we start to catch the implications of this, everything changes. We are no longer living for ourselves. We are living for the one who paid our debts in full. We no longer are trying to manage our sin. No longer trying to be good. Our sins deserve death, but Jesus died in our place so we will not die. This is what it means that God is in the resurrection business.
Because it is God who does the resurrecting, we are free to join his activity without carrying the weight of the results. We lose any illusion of our being the healers. We realize with Paul, that we carry the Gospel treasure in clay jars. We can rejoice in our weakness because in our weakness God’s power and glory are displayed.
When we enter into the place of dependency, we learn to pray. Richard Foster summarizes this well when he says: “As we pray, we are drawn into the love of God, which irresistibly leads us to our neighbor. When we try to love our neighbor we discover our utter inability to do so, which irresistibly drives us back to God. And so we enter into that never-ending fellowship of love that gives Christian community its life.”
In his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster further says “If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer.” When we allow God to move us, God is always moving us into these places where God’s desires in us exceed our capacities. Thus, we spend much of our lives out in this place beyond our power to give our neighbors what we hope for them.
In our experience this recognition leads us to prayer in multiple dimensions. The first is Abiding Prayer.
The one thing that sustains hope in the face of the intensities of following Jesus is clinging to a relationship with God, to an ongoing conversation with God—that is to say, to prayer. In prayer we have an ongoing conversation with God, we hear God’s heart, and we invite God to show us where to join the activity of God. Prayer is thus a lifeline, which is exactly the image that Jesus uses in John 15, when he says to his disciples, “Remain (abide) in me, and I will remain (abide) in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me…”
There is no better picture of prayer. Connection to God is our life source. Without constant connection (abiding/remaining) in Christ, we wither and begin to die. We lose joy. We don’t bear any fruit. We are unable to be a blessing to our communities. Opportunities for God to be glorified are missed.
Paul Miller writes in his book, A Praying Life: “We have an allergic reaction to dependency, but this is the state of the heart most necessary for a praying life. A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heart beat of prayer.”
The recognition of our own inadequacy leads us also to intercessory prayer. Throughout the Scriptures, God implores his people to ask him to move. Jesus tells his followers, “Ask.” Be persistent. Don’t stop asking.
God told Solomon, “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves [and] pray…then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NRSV) Both at Esperanza and at our church, we have been blessed to be surrounded with a community of believers where we continue to learn together to experience prayer as foundational in God’s work.
It is God who does the miracles of transformation in people’s lives. It happens in God’s way and in God’s time, and thus, we are not quick to promote “how-to” formulas. Yet, it has been our repeated experience that intentional ongoing prayer is critical to the in-breaking of God’s Reign. In some mysterious way, through our desperate cries of intercession as people of faith and through our intimate whispers, we move God and moves us.
Over the last ten years, we as a congregation have walked our neighborhood block by block, praying over houses. We have walked the fields and floor plans of the community festival sites, asking that all who enter there would know God’s presence. We have prayed over maps of our census tract, street by street.
We have heard Noel Santiago teach us to “pray on-site with insight.” Doing this inspired our congregation to start the annual Community Festival, which eventually grew into the non-profit community development association, When we see transformative activity happening in the lives of individuals that live on those streets, we can’t help but see these events as connected to intercessory prayer.
One more example: When we moved into our house in Oxford Circle, we knew there was a bar immediately across the street. The implications of that became very clear our first weekend in our home. We moved in on a Memorial Day weekend and quickly realized that every summer weekend night, the air was full of throbbing music, drunken arguments, and all too frequently police sirens coming to break up fights and haul away unruly patrons. One of our neighbors who suffered from alcoholism spent most of her evenings there and on a few occasions was one of the people who wound up leaving in a squad car.
What started as a nuisance became much more urgent when on several occasions the fights were punctuated by gun shots and scattering cars and people. We had already begun praying for safety for our neighborhood and for a shuttering to the bar, but as the situation intensified, friends and our church community joined in prayer. Before long, we woke one morning to find the building shuttered. Not only did that establishment stay closed, but the liquor license that tends to stubbornly follow properties in our city ended when the space was purchased by a pharmacy. Now there is a reputable business that contributes to our community rather than harms it. We thank God and are encouraged to continue to pray.
The II Corinthians text previously cited begins “If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God…” 2 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV). Not infrequently, when God moves his people, it can look we like we have lost our minds. There have been more than a few times in the last number of years, when Jen and I have looked at each other or members of our church community have looked at each other and asked “Are we crazy?” When God calls people to move into God’s design for their lives, it is nearly always a move that requires a faith that God is good and God is able, not a move that makes sense to human thinking.
Yet even as we reflect on this, we can’t imagine anywhere we would rather be than where God has moved us. God has been amazingly faithful to provide, from the little things to the big things. We have a yard we never anticipated when we decided to move to the Oxford Circle neighborhood. Our children have had excellent classroom teachers year by year at the neighborhood school. We experience a deep community of believers with whom to share this journey and friendships with families from amazingly diverse ethnicities and experiences. And we have opportunities to see God show up in ways that defy reason and opportunities to know and depend on God in ways that we are not sure how else we would have learned.
We recently heard Dr. Janelle Goetcheus, whose life work has been providing care to the medically underserved of Washington, DC, as founder of Columbia Road Health Services. She is also co-founder of Christ House, a respite home for medically ill homeless men and women, where she and her family have lived in intentional community with the homeless residents for the last thirty years. She said this: “Sometimes we think God is calling us to sacrifice, when he is trying to give us heaven.”
Our encouragement is for each of us to continue asking God, “How are you wanting to move me? How are you wanting to move our family? How are you wanting to move us as a community of faith?” We believe that God is always wanting to propel his people into his redemptive movements in the world. God always wants more ambassadors in whom to entrust both the ministry and the message of reconciliation.
More times than not, God’s movement doesn’t involve geography, but rather our heart. God wants us to see and care in new ways for the neighbors around us, right where we have been placed. In every neighborhood, there are people in need of hope, of wholeness, and of reconciliation with God and their neighbors.
Nearly always, it is uncomfortable to follow God’s movement in loving neighbors well. Nearly always, it is uncomfortable to actively own the apostle Paul’s directive to implore our neighbors to be reconciled to God. Yet, the good news is that we are not called to do this alone. We are called to move in the hands of God who is already working, who is already bringing the New Creation, the new order of things. We are called to join with a God who loves our neighbors and our neighborhoods far more than we do.
A.W. Tozer once said, “God is looking for people through whom he can do the impossible. What a pity that we plan only the things we can do ourselves.” May we increasingly be a people who do not plan only the things we can do ourselves. Rather, may we be a people who make ourselves available to God’s Spirit to be moved where God chooses as both ministers and messengers of God’s reconciliation to our world.
See also “Stories from Philadelphia” about some of the persons touched by the ministries in which Tim and Jen are involved.
About the author
Tim and Jen Leaman live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim works at Esperanza Health Center as a family physician and the site medical director of EHC’s Kensington office. Jen volunteers regularly in their children’s neighborhood public school and serves on the board of the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association. Tim and Jen attend Oxford Circle Mennonite Church where Jen helps to lead worship and Tim provides leadership to the prayer ministry. Tim and Jen have three children: Isaiah (10), Josiah (7) and Ana (5). They enjoy taking walks in their Oxford Circle neighborhood, finding new ethnic restaurants, gardening and hanging out with neighbors and friends.