Meet Our New Rector, Jenni Ovenstone Smith


From Tom Westerfield, Senior Warden:

It is my pleasure to announce that the Reverend Jenni Ovenstone Smith has accepted our call to be the next Rector of Grace Haddonfield.  The Discernment Committee and Vestry unanimously selected Jenni after an extensive process of surveying the needs and desires of the parish and a thorough examination of the candidates.  Jenni is currently the Senior Associate Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church and Chaplain for the Parish Day School in Ellicott City, Maryland.   Her welcoming personality was instantly recognized and she was drawn to Grace because of our openness and inclusion as well as our desire to serve others.  The Vestry believes she is the best person to take Grace into its next chapter.  Jenni and her family will relocate to the rectory in early March and Jenni will officially start on March 25th, 2019. 

I am including Jenni’s letter to the parish, so you will learn a little more about her in her own words.

In His Service,
Tom Westerfield
Sr. Warden
Dec. 19, 2018

From Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith:

December 19, 2018

To the people of Grace Episcopal Church,

I am beyond delighted to have been called to serve as your Rector beginning in late March 2019. From the beginning of my discernment about whether we might be called to take these next steps in faith together, I was drawn to your commitment to inclusion and diversity, your desire for wide and sincere welcome, your joy in music and worship as a way of growing in faith, and your generosity and sense of mission to serve far beyond the doors of Grace in places where people are most in need of tangible signs of God’s hope and blessing.  I know this is only a glimpse of the many gifts within the life of Grace, not to mention in each of your own stories. I am eagerly anticipating all that we will do and learn together in these coming years.

I will be coming to you from the Diocese of Maryland where I have been in ministry with the people of St. John’s Episcopal Church and Parish Day School in Ellicott City, Maryland for more than ten years. I have been blessed to serve and grow here in so many ways through my roles as Senior Associate Rector, Associate Rector for children, youth and family ministry, and Chaplain. Prior to St. John’s I served at Old St. Paul’s in Baltimore, MD and at Christ Church in Alexandria, VA. I was ordained out of the Diocese of San Diego in 2003, having received my M. Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary. I received my B.A. from Azusa Pacific University in 2000, a student of English, Biblical Studies, and Philosophy.

I am a mum (of Andrew, age 6). I am a widow. I have a passion for pilgrimage, (perhaps we will embark on some journeys together!), most recently having led a group of youth and adult pilgrims to walk the way of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I love reading, particularly poetry and literature.  I enjoy cooking and wine-tasting and trying new foods.  I may be described as “crafty,” but I am not nearly as artistic as Andrew, who especially loves art and science.

I am very much looking forward to meeting you.

The Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith +