Meet Our New Pastor

Meet Our New Pastor

July 2023

Reverend Jennifer Burns Appointed to Shepherd of the Hills

Rev. Jennifer Burns has come to Shepherd of the Hills UMC from Cincinnati Ohio. She has a BA in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MDiv from Wesley Theological Seminary specializing in Emerging Ministries. She became an Ordained Elder in 2013 and has since gained extensive training and experience in Church Renewal and Fresh Expressions of Church. She is driven by love for all people, particularly the marginalized and not-yet churched. She is married to John Burns, a California native and Director of Makerspace Ministry, and they have three children ages 8, 6, and 2.

Reverend Burns’ appointment was effective July 1, 2023.

Letter from Reverend Burns:

Dear Shepherd of the Hills Church Family,

I am excited to be joining you in mission and ministry this summer! I appreciate this chance to introduce myself and look forward to getting to know all of you as well. First off, my faith is grounded in 1 John 4:8, God is love. Out of that grows my deep love for all people and, guided by the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12, a heart particularly for those whom the world often marginalizes.

My calling as a Pastor deepened and clarified as I delved into a movement called Fresh Expressions of Church. The story of Luke 15:1-7 really captures this calling for me. Jesus shares that the Kingdom of God is like a shepherd who loses a sheep and leaves behind the flock to find the one missing. I look forward to discovering how the Holy Spirit is at work in your life, ministry, and community as we live into Christ’s vision of the Kingdom of God!

A little about my history. I grew up in Ohio and in the UMC. I have a BA in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MDiv from Wesley Theological Seminary with a specialty in Emerging Ministries. I’m a graduate of the 9-month Pioneer Learning Community of Fresh Expressions US and completed the 3-year certification program of Creating a Culture of Renewal to become a Certified Renewalist.

I have had the privilege of ministering in a diversity of churches including as: charter member of the Church for All People in Columbus Ohio, Children’s Minister at Dayton Korean UMC, and Pastoral Intern at an emergent church plant in Maryland. I became an Ordained Elder in 2013. I have been sole Pastor at: Howard UMC in Findlay Ohio, Community UMC in Brookville Ohio, and Memorial UMC in West Carrollton Ohio. For the past three years, I’ve been Associate Pastor for Mission & Evangelism at Trinity Milford, Clough, & Cherry Grove UMC’s in Cincinnati Ohio.

On a personal level, I take great joy in nature, tea, creativity, and reading fiction. My husband John is a California native, having grown up outside San Diego. We look forward to being closer to family again! John is currently a Director of Makerspace Ministry, a Consultant for xTool (a Laser company), and tutors in Math and Reading. Our son Micah is energetic, kind, and creative (almost 9), Malea (age 6) is joyful and loves fashion and dancing, and McKenna (age 2) is a born singer.

We want you to know that you are already in our daily prayers, and we covet your prayers for our transition as well. We are excited to be following God in this new adventure with you!

Blessings & Peace,

Rev. Jennifer Burns

Pastor Jon appointed to Whittier First UMC

Pastor Jon Waterson has been appointed to Whittier First UMC beginning July 1. Thank you for your service, Pastor Jon, and best wishes in Whittier!