The Rev. Dr. Janet Whaley Zimmerman, Rector
The Rev. Dr. Janet Whaley Zimmerman began her ministry with Grace Church in September, 2014. Before coming to Grace, Janet served as Associate Rector and School Chaplain at St. Patrick’s Church and Day School in Washington, D.C. and as Curate at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. She also served as a Chaplain at the Children’s Hospital of Austin, Texas. Janet brings with her a desire to serve all people, to be a part of a creative worshipping community that celebrates the goodness of life in the beauty of the Episcopal liturgy, to walk faithfully with people who long for the sacred in their lives, and to listen carefully to the needs of the larger community, developing active partnerships with other faith and community organizations.
Before entering Virginia Theological Seminary to train for the priesthood, Janet worked with children and youth with disabilities and their families. Later she was a university faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and The University of Texas at Austin in Texas where she taught and supervised students at the undergraduate and graduate level to serve people with disabilities.
Janet lives in Great Barrington. (Her husband, Sey, died July 9, 2018.) Janet and Sey have three adult sons. Patrick and his wife Katherine Carroll live in Albany, New York with their three children, Luke, Beth, and Ian. Patrick is an Emergency Physician at St. Peter’s Hospital. Katherine is an architectural historian with a Ph.D. from Boston University. Thomas lives and works in Los Angeles, California for Pacific Council on International Policy as Chief Programs Officer. Frank works as an Architect and Urban Planner at Perkins Eastman in New York City. All three sons and their daughter-in-law graduated from Williams College.
The Rev. Jen Bloesch, Gideon’s Garden Program Director
Jen Bloesch is a native of Madison, WI. She received a Bachelors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied farming, food systems, and sustainable agriculture. For two years she was the director of Slow Food UW, a student organizations focused on providing UW students access to local and organic foods. Through her work as director, Slow Food UW opened a weekly cafe and became incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Later, Jen’s life took a turn towards ministry when she began working at a campus ministry in Madison. After three years of work, she entered into seminary at Boston University, where she also sought ordination in the United Church of Christ. Jen graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 2018 and became ordained in the UCC in the spring of 2019.
Jen now combines her passion for food and ministry in her work at Gideon’s Garden. She moved to Great Barrington in February of 2019 and has since been excited to get her hands into the soil with the young people of the Berkshires.
Chris Clark, Choir Director
Chris Clark, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, completed his undergraduate studies at Cleveland State University with a Bachelors in Music Education. While in college he performed in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, the Cleveland State Choral, and in a variety of musicals and churches. He has performed under or worked with a large number of well-known conductors, including Bob Porko, Rene Clausen, David Zinman, Pierre Boulez, Betsy Burleigh, Peter Phillips, and Franz Welser-Most. Also during undergrad, Mr. Clark was associated with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra Chorus, becoming its Chorus Master from 2003 through 2005. While involved with this youth chorus, he performed with such artists as Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo, Graham Nash, Jon Anderson, and the rock band Styx.
In 2006, Mr. Clark was appointed as the Director of Vocal Music for Tinora High School, in Defiance, Ohio. He conducted the Women’s Chorus, Men’s Ensemble, Chorale, Sensations chamber choir, as well as Junior High Ensembles. His ensembles frequently earned superiors at OMEA State Adjudicated Events, toured locally and nationally, and performed on concerts with local colleges.
Recently, Mr. Clark graduated from Bowling Green State University with a double Masters Degree in Music Education and Choral Conducting. He was the Graduate Assistant for the Collegiate Chorale, Men’s Chorus and the University Choral Society, as well as director of the pop a cappella group HeeBeeBGs. Mr. Clark was the director of the Siena Heights University Mixed Chorus, as well as a voice teacher at that university. In 2011, he presented a session at the Ohio Music Educators Association Conference, in a session titled “It’s Not Dumbed Down! Choral Music for Class C Mixed Choirs and Tips to Performing It Well”. Mr. Clark was also the Music Director of the Choraliers, a community choir in Toledo, and Director of Music at Christ United Methodist Church in Oregon, Ohio.
Since moving to Massachusetts, he has become the Director of Music for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, where he teaches choir in grades 3-12. His Madrigal group won first prize in the inaugural Lenox Caroling Festival, beating out collegiate and professional ensembles to claim the title. He performs regularly in the Berkshire area, directing the Sheffield Messiah Choir and the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus, Assistant Directing the Cantilena Chamber Choir, and being a section leader in the Stockbridge Festival Chorus. Mr. Clark lives in Lee, Massachusetts with his wife, Courtney.