From an early age, John knew that his life had something to do with God, although he didn’t really have a firm idea of what that meant. Through his teenage and college years, John also knew that he wasn’t ready to give up his autonomy. God patiently and persistently pursued him until he finally surrendered in his early twenties.
John continues to marvel at God’s relentless goodness to him. Instead of continuing in a life marked by fear, shame, and anxious performing, he is learning to live in the deep joy of connection with God and others. One of John’s greatest longings is for others to experience their own freedom and fullness.
Pastoral ministry is a second career for John. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and worked as an environmental engineer for 9 years. Prior to coming to Grace in 2004, he served in congregations in New York City and San Francisco.
When he's not pastoring or writing biographies in the third person, John enjoys cooking, hiking, discovering new music, and drinking coffee with heavy cream. Although he and Linn are on the verge of being empty nesters, their house is always full of people and life.
Drew’s early memories of the (mostly older) congregation of his grandma Elsie’s UME church in Philadelphia singing classic Christian hymns like, “The Old Rugged Cross” with joyful voices wavering with age but not conviction have continued to be formative both musically and spiritually.
Drew and his wife Sara have been attending Grace since 2004. During that time Drew has worn many hats including: community group leader, liturgist, elder, and now assistant pastor. Drew feels called to shore up and encourage weary Christians and sees hospitality and discipleship as helpful pathways toward this goal. Drew is guided by the conviction that the Bible is a rich resource that can form us into a distinct people who can care for others, live well amidst neighbors in the city who are different from us, and partner together with all people of goodwill to work for the flourishing of our city.
Drew has a Master’s degree from Fuller Seminary and comes to vocational ministry after a long career in the coffee industry as a professional taster and educator (in which capacity Drew still works as a part-time consultant). He loves watching anything Star Wars-related with his two children. He’s also fascinated by fermentation, always refining homebrew recipes, and often out back meticulously caring for his tiny orchard.
A Pacific Northwest native, Nelson is grateful to be able to minister in the place he has always called home. Nelson loves to find the glory and dignity in people, and he has been greatly influenced by the life and writings of Francis Schaeffer, whose anthropology simultaneously recognizes the goodness of bearing God's image and the corroding nature of sin. Nelson has a desire to see the broader church move toward a more ecumenical posture as witness to our unity in Christ in a fractured world. Nelson also desires to cultivate space for our younger generations to wrestle honestly with faith and doubt while clinging to the hope we have in Jesus. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Family Studies from the University of Washington, and a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary. He loves playing ultimate frisbee and Spikeball, tries his best to be a Mariners fan, loves to read about the intersection of Christianity and culture, and enjoys hiking. He and Nicole have been married since 2016 and have perhaps one of the greatest dogs in the world, Ren.
Jess grew up in central Washington and has lived in Seattle since 2003 where he studied music at the University of Washington. Music has been an integral part of his life, beginning with violin at age four. Jess is passionate about the worshipping life of the church and loves using his abilities to creatively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through music.
When he's not playing and writing music for the church, he enjoys playing and writing music for, well, other things. Jess and his wife Annie live in the Beacon Hill neighborhood with their sons Julian and Avery and absolutely love the city and people of Seattle.
Jamie came to faith as a child and has been plumbing the depths of God’s grace ever since. After attending Bible college in the Chicago area where she is from, she planted deep roots in the city and fell in love with urban life through her pastors and church. After lots of prayer, and by the urging of her closest friends and spiritual mentors, she moved to St. Louis to attend Covenant Seminary for her MDiv. After 10 years of ministry at a local church in St Louis, the Lord called her and her husband to return to his home state of Washington to be closer to family and fulfill a life-long dream of being in Seattle.
Things she loves: The Chicago Bears (the Seahawks are and have always been a very close second!), olives of all varieties, any book by Annie Dillard, the poetry of Hafiz, the music of Andrew Peterson, and of course her husband!
Things she longs for: Being able to clap and sing at the same time, a bigger kitchen, to be able to walk among the big cats like panthers and pumas, to be a better wife and friend, and to meet the four babies she never got the chance to — ultimately, for Jesus to come back.
Serving as Grace Kids Children’s Director is an immense honor for Linn. Overhearing and seeing our volunteers, parents, and children speak about the love of Christ and try to live out his love toward one another brings her deep joy. Linn holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University and a Master's in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary. Prior to working at Grace, she served in Seattle Public School's Special Education Program. Linn is a native to Nashville (she loves country music) but has grown to cherish the people and places of the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband (who you might have noticed happens to be the Senior Pastor—it is a miracle of Christ that they can work together!) have lived in Seattle since 2004 and raised their four children here in the city. If you are new to Grace or interested in the Children's ministry, do not hesitate to contact Linn or introduce yourself on Sunday morning. She would love to meet you.
Nicole has had the privilege of growing up in the faith and never knowing a day without the Lord. She grew up in Ballard and in 2018 the Lord brought her and her husband, Nelson to St. Louis, Missouri to attend Covenant Seminary. She continues to work towards her degree in Biblical and Theological Studies while attempting to be an administrative wizard for Grace.
Nicole loves to go treasure hunting at estate sales and Goodwill Outlet or rescuing useful things from the side of the road, or the trash so that they don't end up in the landfill. She also loves to go camping with Nelson and their 2 year old pup, Ren and baking, but preferably not at the same time.
In Anglican churches, the Vestry is a group of men and women from the congregation who, along with the Senior Pastor, form the church's governing body.
Nate Andrews was born in Seattle and spent his formative childhood years in the University District. He grew up in a Christian family and worshipped in a small local church with a strong gift of hospitality, many families opening their homes to college students, especially those from abroad. When he was ten years old his father accepted a job teaching English in mainland China and the family embarked on a great adventure, one that brought them closer to one another and to the Lord. As a 'stranger and a sojourner' in a foreign land, Nate experienced firsthand the reality of the Gospel being for every nation, tribe, language and people.
Nate has been a member of Grace for over 20 years and, having met his wife Heather in community group, has a passion for seeing the body fed and supported through regular study, fellowship, prayer and service. It has been a blessing and a privilege to watch his boys grow up in a loving community, where the Gospel is preached and they are welcomed into the family of God on a weekly basis. When he has free time Nate can be found reading, writing, enjoying music, playing volleyball, and cheering on the Huskies.
Sara is a writer and nonprofit communications manager seeking a deeper faith in our complicated culture. Her family of origin is Roman Catholic and Jewish (her dad converted to Christianity in the 70s). Born and raised in the Midwest, Sara and her husband Drew have attended Grace since their first month as Seattleites in 2006 and love being a part of our community filled with such thoughtful, creative, and big-hearted people.
Instead of trying to work her own way towards a more perfect spiritual version of herself, Sara has found freedom in the simple truth that God loves us and co-labors with us, just as we are. She believes our common tendency to let fear overwhelm our calling can be undone by gospel truth, active prayer, community, and ordinary service. Sara has found a lot of life in spiritual direction, the examen, and other contemplative practices, and she considers it a joy to mentor young Christians navigating life in the city. She writes to bring courage to orphaned believers at sarabillups.com.
Eric and his wife Joy were born and raised in Texas. As a bit of an experiment, they moved to Seattle and quickly fell in love with the city and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. They have planted roots here and are raising their three kids in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood.
Eric and Joy found Grace not too long after moving to Seattle and consider it a big part of what grounds them here. For Eric, Grace represents a beautiful combination of a willingness to explore new ways God is working while still being deeply rooted in the historic teachings of the Gospel.
Eric has long had a passion for cities and loves the vibrancy and creativity they facilitate. It’s what drew him to Seattle. It’s what drives his professional work. It’s why he gets excited when the congregation prays for the welfare of the city. It’s also why he and his family work to be in the city and a part of their neighborhood. Conversely, it is the great wild places of the Pacific Northwest’s where Eric finds restoration and connection to the beauty of God.
Renee is a native of the Seattle area. For as long as she can remember, her heart’s desire has been to be with others in their spiritual walk - no matter where they find themselves. Her own spiritual life has been deepened by experiencing God’s unconditional love through seasons of trial and of joy. She started attending Grace in 1999, drawn by the message of God’s grace and love as she and her husband battled with years of infertility. She found Grace to be a safe place where she was not expected to hold herself together, but rather she found that God, and the church, would meet her in her pain. Today, her passion is connecting with people where they can find a safe place to heal and to grow in their desire to know God. Renee’s career path began with Harborview, where she worked as a nurse for 17 years, most of those years spent in the burn center. Today, she lives and works at The Layne, an urban retreat center, as host and spiritual director, along with her husband, Dan. When she is at rest, she loves reading, traveling, the sun, and time spent with family and friends. Renee and Dan have two wonderful adult sons.
Rebecca is grateful to have been raised in a home that loved Jesus, and she grew into that love slowly and steadily. Her faith was passed on to her, but it was also her own. Growing up in a Bible belt in southern Manitoba (Canada), Rebecca loved the prairies and the deep, solid faithfulness of her extended family – it was a rich heritage.
Tragedy struck when her dad unexpectedly died at the age of 50. She was 21, in her third year of studying music at Trinity Western University, and she became acquainted with a grief that tore her soul. God's presence and nearness through it all were undeniable, but grief is a grim companion. Rebecca met Orion less than a year later, and they were married in 2003. Orion is caring and inquisitive, a faithful partner and a profound rock in her life.
They lived in Winnipeg for eight years where Rebecca dove into graduate school and Orion worked as a web programmer. They then began to welcome the kids into their lives: Seth (now 9), Silas (7), Annalyn (5) and Theodore (almost 3). She considers it an immense honour to mother these dynamic little people, and the journey of parenthood has radically shaped her and caused her to rely on God in the mystery of the everyday. The Iflands moved to Seattle from Winnipeg in 2012 and quickly found a home at Grace, serving at Grace in several ways: in Grace Kids, in hosting a Community Group, in music, and in mentoring engaged couples.
Tamarack grew up in a home with a Christian mother and atheist father. This was difficult, but allowed her to experience challenges to her beliefs and faith at an early age. She accepted Christ as a young child but it was during her senior year in high school when she more fully gave him her life. She was struggling and did not know where her life was going and realized that God was the only one she could turn to for purpose, support, and guidance. Life has been a difficult journey with periods of doubt and struggle, but God has been patient and faithful.
God led Tamarack to attend Northwest University where she majored in psychology with a second major in Biblical Literature. She then attended Boston University and earned a Masters in Social Work. God has given her a heart for serving the poor and marginalized. She worked at the YWCA for several years and now works at Treehouse.
Tamarack started attending Grace in 2009. She was drawn to the thoughtful worship and the focus on serving the city. It has been a pleasure for her to be a part of this loving community. During her time at Grace, she has served in the children’s ministry and as a community group host. She looks forward to the opportunity to walk more closely with people in their faith, build stronger relationships, and help meet people’s practical needs.
Darik was born and raised in the Seattle area and has been married to Jo for 30 years with three grown children. He has a daughter, Danielle, and son-in-law, Justin who have attended Grace Seattle with them since 2010.
He grew up in a family that taught him the love of Christ and was nurtured by the caring fellowship of believers in a loving church and Christian school. In his young adult years, though immersed in the message of grace from the gospel, he saw little need for relationships with other Christians and lived a life pursuing his academic and medical career and courting Jo. His crisis of belief occurred his senior year in college, engaged to Jo and accepted to UW medical school, and his parents' divorce that shattered his illusion of his perfect family. His faith was restored by the loving care of many including his wife, Jo and her parents and the body of the church who he had rejected. God has used their life together with his family and the church to sanctify them as they have experienced times of loss and confusion including the death of Jo's father. They also have experienced the unexpected joy of life together with the marriage of their children, a granddaughter and the fellowship of brothers and sisters at Grace Seattle.
He enjoys his life with his family and friends eating and drinking together at their home in Northgate, at restaurants, and on Lake Washington on their boat. They are UW Husky fans and love the Seattle Sounders FC.