Despite his hectic schedule, Valparaiso resident Robert Jennings is determined to make an impact as rector at The Anglican Church of St. Andrew the Evangelist, 8555 Grand Blvd., Merrillville.
A full-time employee at Hydro Inc. of Chicago, Jennings has served as an account manager for 37 years.
“I work primarily as the account manager for the U.S. Steel facilities in Northwest Indiana, and I also serve as the training instructor for Hydro’s worldwide operations, assisting with employee training and development as well as hosting training seminars,” Jennings said.
“I am also a certified instructor/trainer for the Hydraulic Institute and conduct regional training seminars related to energy-saving measures applicable to the pump industry.”
Jennings joined St. Andrew the Evangelist in 2008 as rector after serving there as a deacon, priest and vicar.
“I pray each and every week that God will grant me the strength, energy, and perseverance to meet the challenges of the coming week,” he said.
"I jokingly tell people I have two jobs - one that pays very well and one whose benefits are out of this world.”
The small church has seen recent spikes in weekly attendance and vacation Bible school programs, and its Little Saints Preschool program has been expended from three to five days per week.
“We are always looking for activities that would draw moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, to our church,” he said.
“Most of our growth has come by way of word-of-mouth, from one member sharing with their family and friends.”
“I believe church should be fun and a place that you look forward to going to each week. I have also believed you can tell a lot about a church by how fast the parking lot empties out after services,” he added.
In addition, the church recently installed Sisters in Service as a local chapter of Daughters of the King, and is in the initial stages of installing a local chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.
“The things that keep us lying awake at night are essentially the same things that kept people 2,000 years ago awake at night - family matters, heath issues, security, both physical and financial,” he said.
“It is a privilege to serve in God’s church, to intercede on behalf my congregation’s needs, and to share the joys and sorrows of life with them.”