Meet our directors

Jessica Gazzola

12002804_10156096302220305_532862323929076212_nI am an ordained priest in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, though I feel more comfortable in yoga pants and a sweatshirt than vestments.  Nevertheless, my priesthood is a part of me however I’m dressed and wherever I go – into nature, my kitchen, my neighborhood, and into the depths of my own inner life.  I believe everyone is a priest at the altar of their own life.

I have three kids.  They keep me busy and they remind me what it means to be human, though they are proof to me that we are born spiritual beings.14480640_1189934767729526_6169177608916630078_o

I grew up in the Roman Catholic church and was powerfully influenced by its Sacraments and various strains of mysticism.  I attended Marquette University and there the Jesuits helped to ground my faith in reason and social justice.  I received my Masters of Divinity at an ecumenical seminary, Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, where the wider world of Christianity opened up to me.  After Seminary I served the wonderful community of Sts. Clare & Francis as their Associate Pastor for seven years.  In 2014, expecting my third child, I decided to take a break from parish ministry and sink into parenthood and the sacred ordinary.

Though I pulled back from my busy church life, the prayers still come to me and the rituals infuse my days.  My blog, The Altar of Her Life, gives me space to share my priesthood with others in the mystical community of spiritual beings learning to be human.  I also write poetry and prayer for individuals and churches.  If that interests you, visit me at Stories and Seasons sometime.

Joining up with Zion United Church of Christ to direct Peace Tree Spirituality Center in 2017 unfolded in such a joyful and surprising way.  Peace Tree and its prayer garden felt like home the moment I stepped on the grounds.  The place is thick with life and prayer.  I merely wanted to know if the space was still being used after the previous director left.  That set the water wheel of God’s life spinning and brought Anne Knight and I together to offer our services as co-directors.  I stand in this role in awe of the mysterious ways Life unfolds around me!

Anne Knight

bio coming soon…

Peace Tree Spirituality Center is a wholly owned ministry of Zion United Church of Christ (UCC), operating under the authority of the Zion Church Council, on the property of Zion. However, the purpose of Peace Tree is to provide this ministry, in partnership with Christ the King UCC (Florissant, MO), as a gift to the entire interfaith community of our region and beyond.