Alum Stories

Ministry in a Time of Pandemics: Jon Gilbert Martinez

Jon Gilbert Martinez
Photo Credit: Jon Gilbert Martinez

Jon Gilbert Martinez

Master of Divinity, 2019
Designated-Term Pastor for Christ Church UCC-Des Plaines, Communications Consultant for The Colectivo de UCC Latinx Ministries, and Vice-Chair of the UCC Mental Health Network,
Chicago, Illinois

When I set out to answer my call to ministry, I never imagined that I would be serving during a global pandemic. I have seen many challenges during this pandemic: people’s need to come together for worship services, the limitations for those who live with mental illness to easily connect with resources, and rising food insecurity.

Garrett-Evangelical helped me acquire theological and pastoral care skills that have come in handy not only in my call but also on the board I serve. For example, at San Lucas UCC, where I served as a digital outreach minister, I was able to see why the congregation desired a way to connect. In response, I was able to work with our senior minister to establish an online donation platform to receive funds to feed those who live with food insecurity. I also began editing and creating worship services to engage our congregation.

In the middle of it all, I have found God in the silence I share with someone. I have found God in supporting families who had to say their final farewell to loved ones. I have seen God in the stranger who found my bumper sticker on being kind speaking to him amidst so much tragedy. Christ’s resurrection is happening daily in the connections that I am blessed to make as pastoral care has ushered itself into the digital age.