Jade Augustine was elected president of our congregation in January 2020. As president she presides at the meetings of the congregation and of Church Council and leads the congregation in the work of carrying out its mission and ministry. She recently answered some get-to-know-you questions from the Grace Notes editor.
Where do you come from, church-roots-wise? What brought you to Grace Church?
I was born and raised in northern Indiana. My parents and younger brother, Jon, and I were members of First English Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Goshen. It holds a special place in my heart, as it was where I was baptized, received my First Communion, was confirmed, and it’s where my husband Andrew and I were married in July 2000. It also happens to be the same church where my parents were married in 1968. In recent years, the church merged with another local Lutheran congregation and has since been renamed.
When Andrew and I moved to Oak Park from the Washington DC area in 2002, finding a new church family was important to us. We visited several Lutheran churches in the area. Once we learned about Grace and visited for the first time, we knew it was the place for us. We were drawn to the traditional worship service, beautiful music, and the warm welcome from the people of Grace. We started attending regularly and became members that next year.
What (who?) prompted you to become actively involved in ministry, activities, etc. at Grace? What have you enjoyed most and why?
My parents were great role models for being involved at church. I have fond memories of seeing them serve at the church I grew up in. I helped them serve meals and coffee hour from our church kitchen, we were involved in worship services, my dad was on the church council, and my brother and I were active in our youth group. So, I knew once I found a church home as an adult, it wasn’t a matter of if I’d get involved, but how.
During the 16 years we’ve been members at Grace, I’ve had the opportunity to connect and serve in many ways. When my kids were babies, I was part of a moms’ Bible study group started by Pastor Kersten, and it continued for many years. It was such a blessing to have that fellowship then, which turned into lasting friendships we still have today. Around the same time, my husband and I joined a Supper Shuffle group (similar to the FEAST groups today), and those relationships have continued to be meaningful over the years. When our kids were little, I helped teach Sunday School for several years. I was also on the Associate Pastor Call Committee that led to the calling Pastors Lauren and Dave Wegner.
Most recently, I became part of the Personnel Committee about four years ago when the committee was formed, and I’ll continue to serve with that group. I was part of the Grace New Members Committee, active with the Youth Ministry Team, and I’m currently a co-leader for the Grace Confirmation Mentor Program. I’m grateful for the many ways I’ve been able to serve at Grace, and how there have been opportunities at all stages and chapters of life.
How are your family members involved at Grace? What has been important to your family at Grace Church?
My husband, Andrew, was on the Board of Elementary Education (now the Elementary Education Committee) for 6 years, with his term ending at the beginning of this year. He also served on the Church Council for the final year of his board term, as a representative of that board. I’m grateful to him for his service, especially during a time when both of our kids were students at Grace School. The school has been and will always be a special place for us. Our oldest, Owen, is now a freshman at OPRF High School. After being confirmed last spring, he became active with the high school youth group, and is now on the Youth Ministry Team. This year Owen also became a lector for worship services. Our daughter, Sophia, is an 8th grader at Grace School. At church, she is in her last year of the confirmation program. As Grace is shifting Confirmation Sunday from May to October starting in 2020, her class will be the first to extend confirmation activities through the summer and be confirmed in the fall. Sophia is also active with the middle school youth group.
Education, career? What might people be interested to know about you?
Professionally, my career has been in corporate human resources. Two years ago, I transitioned from the corporate setting to pursue full-time leadership and career coaching. I obtained a coaching certification, and in addition to having my own small career coaching business, I work with a leadership coaching group called OptimizeU. We work with organizations and universities on individual and team leadership coaching, engagement and culture initiatives, and mindfulness practices. I’m blessed to work with a great group of people and to be doing meaningful work.
Why did you say yes when you were asked to serve as congregation president?
Grace has become an integral part of who I am, both as a Grace church member and as a Grace School family. When Pastor Lyle asked me to serve as congregation president, I was deeply honored. I prayerfully considered the role and gave thought to ways I could be of service to our Grace community in this capacity. I’m passionate about being a part of shaping Grace’s vision and growth, while also celebrating its rich history and tradition. I reflected on the mission of Grace Lutheran Church and School to bring in, build up, and send out disciples for Jesus Christ. I feel called by God to help Grace fulfill this mission through servant leadership.
How are you and your family staying connected to Grace and faith during this period of social distancing?
This is a trying time for all as we manage through the fear and uncertainty of a global pandemic. COVID-19 is affecting each of us in different ways, as our lives as we once knew them have drastically changed. I am so grateful to Pastor Lyle, Grace leadership, and everyone in our Grace community for how we’ve carried on together during these difficult times. My family has enjoyed all the livestream church services and Sunday School songs and lessons. I’ve joined meetings through use of video technology. Our daughter has remained connected with fellow Grace students through the efforts of our amazing Grace teachers and staff. We are Together in Christ: To Love, to Grow, to Serve. Now more than ever, may we continue to love one another, grow in faith and our trust in God, and continue to serve our neighbors.