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Dear Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the Vestry, I am delighted to announce that The Reverend Jennifer Wagner Pavia has accepted our call to serve as the fourth Rector of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church. Her first Sunday service with us is planned for February 19th, and you all will have a chance to meet her at our Annual Meeting on January 29th.

Reverend Jennifer joins us from Holy Faith Inglewood, where she has been serving as Priest-in-Charge for the past three and a half years, giving sermons in Spanish as well as English. During her time there, as COVID-19 became a reality for all, Jennifer flexed her creative muscles by experimenting with liturgies, livestream, videos, and use of social media, in addition to performing drive-by pastoral care. She also encouraged and assisted their social justice ministries for housing equality, the need for a living wage, and support for unions.

Having received her M.Div. from Claremont School of Theology, Jennifer spent her ministry year prior to ordination at Holy Nativity in Westchester, where she was encouraged to spend as much time in their organic community garden as in the sanctuary. Preceding this ministry, she spent 13 years as the Director of Children’s Ministries at St. Augustine by the Sea in Santa Monica. There she led many children, including her own, in a program that included a large Sunday school, middle & high school youth education & activities, a nursery, and a volunteer staff. Supporting families in their spiritual journeys remains close to her heart, and she continues to be an advocate for youth to be more deeply involved in worship and the church.

For the past 30 years, Jennifer has resided in Del Rey, only 5 minutes from St. Bede’s. She lives with her two daughters--one a senior at Venice High and the other a graduate of UC Santa Cruz. She has served the community as a Girl Scout leader, PTA President, Block Captain, and an organizer of local community and school events. She loves meeting new people and their animals on walks; since she’s a great listener and is easy to talk to, people tell her their stories, much to the chagrin of those in line behind her at the market. 

A native of New England, Jennifer loves the outdoors, but no longer likes the cold. She was raised on Connecticut’s Long Island Sound--swimming, crabbing, clamming, and going barefoot all summer. She still collects rocks, shells and sea “stuff,” which is on display throughout her home. Jennifer playfully warns, “Don’t get me started talking about horseshoe crabs.” She was raised by gardeners and studied horticulture, so it’s no wonder that she enjoys spending time in the garden, getting her hands dirty, and laboring outside. Her family says, “She’s out there praying again!” Jennifer says in response, “They are not wrong. Working outside feeds my soul, as does feeding the wildlife, especially the squirrels.”

Jennifer finds that wearing her clericals around town is a great form of evangelism. She notes that confusion over a woman in a collar is a great conversation-starter about the Church, Jesus, and God’s infinite, unconditional, never-ending love. Most of all, Jennifer says, she loves because God loved us first, and she works to see this love in others every day. She is thrilled to join us and looks forward with excitement to being a pilgrim on the road together with the good and faithful people of God at St. Bede’s.

I want to profusely thank the six members of our Rector Search Committee: Chairpersons Tom Elliott and Travis LaFerriere-Holloway, and members Liz Mohler, Bond Harper, Alice Short, and Akani Fletcher. After working tirelessly in prayerful diligence and discernment for over a year, the Search Committee unanimously recommended Jennifer, and the Vestry concurred with their selection.

The Committee identified several of Jennifer’s strengths, including her recent experience with a congregation in transition, her respect for following the Episcopal tradition tempered with openness and curiosity, her strong yet flexible leadership skills, her bilingual ability, the breadth of her ministry experience to diverse communities, her warmth and authenticity and her extensive experience working with families and children in a church setting.

Here are thoughts about Jennifer from two of the Search Committee members:

  • “She led us through a well prepared and thought-provoking evening prayer. Her ability to engage with those of us on Zoom and her caring genuine ability to take charge and lead us was noticed. She knows our community/location and her experience working with volunteers and her curiosity to listen to us and ask questions leads me to believe she will fit in with a combination of maintaining what we love about St. Bede’s and the potential to make it even better.” 
  • “There’s not a ton of logic I can put in words, I just knew it was Jennifer in my heart after our in-person meetings.”

Additional details will be forthcoming as we enter a new chapter in the life of St. Bede’s. We express our deep and heartfelt gratitude for our Interim Pastor, The Reverend Ryan D. Newman. Ryan has poured his heart and soul into strengthening our Church through innovation, guiding us in Christ’s love and caring for our congregation; we will be forever thankful.

We anticipate that Jennifer’s spiritual presence and guidance will inspire us to grow in our faith, as we continue striving to live up to Jesus’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves with open hearts, kindness, and respect. While she lovingly nourishes our souls and we become even more of a vibrant and joyful worshiping community, we also hope to grow our numbers and our resources to promote God’s work in our world, as we follow Jesus’s Way of Love. 


Susan Holder

Senior Warden

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