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Familiar face returns to Farmington First Presbyterian Church

Rev. Jean Greenwood is the new part-time pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Farmington. She also served as pastor there from 1988-1991.

Farmington's First Presbyterian Church has a new pastor, only she's not actually new to the church.

Sound confusing? Not really. See, Rev. Jean Greenwood started her pastoral career in Farmington, and now, she's come back to guide the congregation again.

Greenwood originally came to First Presbyterian in 1988 and served here until 1991. It was her first experience as a solo pastor out of seminary, and much of what she learned for her future, she learned in Farmington.

"They were my tutors, my training ground," Greenwood said.

In a way, Greenwood has really never gone far from the local congregation. She made many friends in her early years as a pastor, and had come back to preach on several occasions when subsequent pastors were out of town.

She's also served in other churches, some as a full time pastor, and some as interim pastor. Greenwood is also a teacher, writer and mediator. She's worked with institutions like the University of Minnesota and Hamline University, and she's been a consultant to the Minnesota Department of Education.

In recent years, Greenwood has found a passion for restorative justice. She works with crime victims and their offenders to open lines of communication, help rebuild relationships and teach forgiveness and understanding.

"(Restorative justice) has been a special piece of expertise I've developed, that's been very transformative and eye opening," Greenwood said. "That experience grew out of an experience that happened at another church, where young people had been stealing from the church. When we discovered it, we were able to have some dialog that was unforgettable. It was very healing. An experience where we all learned a great deal, and that launched my interest in restorative justice."

Greenwood came back to Farmington effective March 1. In addition to leading services, she'll work with the congregation as they deal with some of the challenges they've encountered in recent years. She'll also be instrumental in helping them set future goals.

"When they said they were looking for a half-time pastor, I said, 'You know, I really love these people and I'm very fond of them.' I thought maybe this would be a mutually beneficial arrangement or opportunity," she said.

So far, the experience is everything Greenwood though it would be.

"I've reconnected with so many people I knew before, and I've been delighted to meet new people. It feels like coming home, and yet, at a different time in their history. I feel like we're picking up where we left off," she said.