The Rev. Joanna Leiserson:
a short bio
Joanna came to the Cincinnati area from the Way Out West to serve as Canon for Christian Formation and Mission at Christ Church Cathedral in 2005 after ordination, serving there until the arrival of the new Dean in 2013. She then served at St. Anne Church, West Chester as their Interim Rector until May 2015, helping them to discern their own congregational identity and then to find a new rector who would be just right for them.
In September 2015, she began a ministry at the Church of the Ascension in Middletown as a "transition priest for initial discernment," helping them to discern the immediate future of their church and to explore ways to ensure the sustainability of the church. "These have been joyful times, and I anticipate that my time at Calvary will also be a joyful one," Joanna says.
She is a writer "by passion," she says. She wrote the children's Church School curriculum, Weaving God's Promises (2011, Church Publishing). If you are curious about it, check out the website
to find out what the curriculum teaches the children. She also wrote a Lenten devotional book titled A Grown-Up Lent: When giving up chocolate is not enough (2014, Forward Movement/Church Publishing).
Since her last name does not reflect her Chinese descent, Joanna will sometimes talk about Chinese traditions in her sermons "so you know my ancestry without having to ask."
She loves history, astronomy, paleontology, "flowers but not gardening," the English language, animals and all the wonders of God's creation, all church ministry, rush hour traffic, chocolate, and advocating for social justice. She lives in Covington, KY and has three grown children and three grown cats.
How to contact Joanna
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00am to 1:00pm by appointment, other times by request, including after the first service.
When to call after church hours:
For normal church business, please call the church office and leave a message if she is not there.
Call Joanna on her cell phone if there is any urgent or critical concern needing immediate attention, for example, if you:
- have been hospitalized,
- are having surgery,
- are experiencing personal crisis,
- have a death in the family,
- have been arrested, or
- are involved in any other emergency situation needing pastoral care or guidance.
A note from Joanna about the Calvary's transition:
I am so pleased and honored to have been called to be your Interim (transition) priest for the coming months at Calvary Church. I am looking forward to partnering with you in ministry, as we work together to discern the vision and future of the church, and then to seek a new rector who fits your vision. And I am looking forward to meeting all of you and getting to know you. The welcome and hospitality that I have experienced here, even in my first two weeks, has already given me a hint that this will be a fun and friendly place to be.
What will we be doing together?
In the coming months, I would like to have conversations with you about your hopes, dreams, and concerns about Calvary. There will be mandatory congregational meetings to introduce the discernment process that will lead up to the church's profile and then the search process. Our journey through this transition will cover topics of heritage, identity, leadership, mission, connections, and future.
As a certified trained interim, I will use the resources that have evolved in interim ministry over the past several years, adapting some models to Calvary's particular context. I will give you regular written updates and information about the transition process as the time goes on. Know that any transition from one rector to another takes time, and it is wise for the congregation to take its time. A two-month interim time will likely result in a two-month rector. When we move slowly and deliberately, we will make sure that you will find the best possible fit for your church.
The meetings will likely begin in late summer or early fall. Dates and times are still being determined. I hope you will join me in these discussions. I promise they will be interesting and enlightening and not a bit boring! Attending these meetings will also ensure that your voice will count in this search for the new rector. This is not the time for a select few to make the decisions, but a time for all members to offer input.
So again, I look forward to working with you as you move toward a new and exciting time in Calvary's history. Have a very blessed week, and see you on Sunday!
The Rev. Joanna Leiserson, Transition Priest