Ever since Jessica Harris Daum was a child, she has deeply loved her church, Calvary Lutheran in Grand Forks. “I had many important relationships there,” she said. “I felt it was my second home.”
Calvary is where Jessica was baptized and confirmed. It’s where many mentors nurtured her faith and encouraged her in all her endeavors.
The nurturing and encouraging started with her parents, Laurie and Brian Harris. It continued with her godparents, grandparents, past and present pastors, her youth director, Dave Adams, and his wife Kim Larson Adams.
As a result, “I sensed a call to ministry at a young age,” Jessica said. “I became involved in the Lutheran Youth Organization of the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which was a small group of high school students who volunteered their time to plan and lead events and worship services in the region. Being a part of this group added to my sense of call and allowed me to serve as a leader in ministry even as a young person.”
Last weekend, Jessica and her husband, Trey Daum, were in his home congregation, Peace Lutheran Church, New Braunfels, Texas, where Trey was ordained into the Holy Ministry.
And this weekend, they are in Grand Forks, where Jessica will celebrate her ordination in her “second home,” Calvary Lutheran. The service is at 6 p.m. Sunday. All are welcome. A reception will follow.
“This is an event toward which I have been moving much of my life,” Jessica said. “It is my hope that those present will sense God’s call in their life to whatever their vocation may be. Whenever we love and serve neighbors, we all are ministers doing God’s work in our daily lives.”
Jessica attended Century Elementary and South Middle Schools in Grand Forks, and graduated from Red River High School. She went on to Concordia College, Moorhead, where she majored in Organizational Communications and minored in Spanish and Religion. Throughout college she worked for Pathways Outdoor Ministries in Minnesota.
“My experiences at camp were important and faith forming,” she said. “After college I took a job working as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry at Memorial Lutheran Church in Afton, Minn. My colleague at Memorial, Pastor Greg Isaacson, now at Trinity Lutheran in Crookston, gave me many opportunities to stretch beyond the realm of my job description and work with people of all ages as well as preach and lead worship. This experience solidified my ongoing sense of call, and I continued serving in this context through my first two years of seminary.”
Jessica attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul from 2008 to 2012. She graduated in May with a Masters of Divinity, the degree required for rostered leadership as an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA.
“After anxiously waiting this summer, my husband and I are extremely grateful and excited to have accepted calls to two churches in the Sioux Falls area of South Dakota,” she said. “I will serve as an associate pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Tea, S.D., and Trey will serve Springdale Lutheran Church, south of Sioux Falls as their pastor.”
Jessica will be eternally grateful to all those who fanned the flame of her faith beginning at baptism and beyond.
The nurturing and encouragement of others, “helps to form influential faith in the lives of youth,” she said. “We need to affirm their gifts and engage them as leaders now, instead of thinking of them as only future leaders.”
Jessica’s story should inspire all of us to seek and to find young people in our own congregations to nurture and encourage in all their endeavors.
Her dad, Brian Harris, speaks for himself and Jessica’s mother, Laurie, when he says, “We definitely feel blessed and are believers in ‘it takes a village.’ ”