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Pastoral Team

As a reflection of the diverse congregation Ellis Avenue Church also has a diverse leadership team.  Our lead pastor, Jonathan Friesen, is in his fifth year at the church.   Prior to serving at Ellis Jonathan co-directed the DOOR Chicago program, a short-term Christian service and education program located on the westside of the city.  He also was a city director for the Service Adventure program, a program for young adults to explore service vocations and connect with local church communities.  Jonathan received his M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2008.  He and his wife Kristin have been residents of Hyde Park for over ten years.  They have two children, Nathan, 9, and Caroline, 4.

Brenda Matthews, or Momma Brenda as she is known to many, has spent her entire life attending, contributing, and providing leadership to churches in Chicago.  Brenda is in her 4th year of ministry at Ellis Avenue Church.  In addition to her pastoral work, Brenda is a widely published poet and spoken word artist.   She has a strong passion for working with young people, especially through the arts.  Brenda is a regular speaker at youth events, church conventions, and on college campuses due to her inspiring message of hope in Jesus Christ and the need for an active faith that requires us to be ‘Kingdom Builders and World Changers’.

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