Pastor Jennifer Tiernan-Bindler just keeps moving on up.
A former resident of New York City and Westchester, Pastor Jenn moved last month to Red Hook after she was assigned to the ministry of the Red Hook United Methodist Church.
And she is eager to explore her new home.
“I was really excited to be sent to Red Hook. I love the outdoors and hiking and nature. It is ideal for my son, Samuel (age 9),” she said, adding “His favorite part of Red Hook so far is Holy Cow ice cream.”
Pastor Jenn’s husband, Edward, is an IT professional now employed at the Baptist Home in Rhinebeck.
“We are grateful that we both can have meaningful work in this area. We want to make a really meaningful contribution and be part of this community,” said Pastor Jenn.
She wasted no time learning about Red Hook UMC and its current work.
“I love their community mission and what they are doing at the food pantry. It shows the strength of the congregation,” she said.
The food pantry she refers to is unique in that they also raise additional funds via the Hand to Mouth Weavers. In one of the church’s basement rooms sit large looms, and volunteers meet on a regular basis to create beautiful bags and rugs for sale to the public. Weaving classes are also offered free of charge.
Pastor Jenn is currently a Provisional Elder in the New York Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, having completed 10 years of the 12-year process it takes to become a Methodist minister. She explained what she would like to bring to her new church’s current mission: “I am hoping we will be able to revive the Sunday School. This is an aging congregation but very active.”
She is also keen to apply for grants to purchase multi-media materials, such as projection screens and artwork, to enhance the listening experience of sermons.
The office of former Pastor Dorothy Weigert, who took an early retirement due to illness, is undergoing a “makeover” so that Pastor Jenn’s visitors will feel they are entering a friendly sanctuary. She laughed at some serendipity: “When I chose a shade of lavender for the walls, the paint was called ‘Peace and Happiness’.”
She is particularly passionate about providing one-on-one spiritual direction.
“I want to help people get to the next level in their spiritual journey. I like to help them wrestle with ‘Where does the soul find nourishment?’ ‘How do we find that compass to find our voice that asks: Who am I? Why am I here?’” She emphasized that she would help anyone needing spiritual direction, not just those who are members of Red Hook UMC or the Methodist faith.
In the meantime, settling into a Red Hook routine for Pastor Jenn includes unpacking boxes, finding a good bagel, enjoying the various local restaurants, and savoring accessible local produce.
“I don’t know if there is a more beautiful place in the whole world for natural beauty,” she said. “Red Hook is a wonderful place to grow up and raise a family and live. I hope to be here for a long time.”
You can contact Pastor Jenn at 914-486-8857 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Church office: 845-758-6283 or www.redhookumc.org. Food pantry open Sundays noon-1:30pm during the summer; 1-2:30pm after Labor Day.