Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler is the pastor of John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Florence, SC, a ministry that she started on August 1, 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. A certified life and leadership coach, yoga teacher, retreat leader and consultant Jen serves clergy and lay leaders who want to deepen their own spirituality and lead their communities with intentionality and grace. In addition to her present congregational call, Jen enjoys teaching yoga and meditation.
Ordained in the 2003, Jen has served Protestant Christian congregations in Illinois, New York and North Carolina and is a sought after preacher, speaker and retreat leader. Her previous work includes serving as the Deputy Director of Protestants for the Common Good (Chicago IL), and Director of Policy and Advocacy at Sojourners (Washington, DC). She also served as an interim Assistant Pastor at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church (Geneva, IL) and associate pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ/United Church of Christ) in New York City. She believes that Christian spirituality, like yoga, is a practice; and as a practice, is done best in community.
Jen works with the Transitional Ministry Education Consortium to educate pastors on the skills needed to serve in ministry in congregations and communities in transition. Additionally she specializes in providing coaching and spiritual direction to congregational leaders who are serving congregations in transition. She has provided leadership at Montreat Camp and Conference Center (NC), Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center (NV), and Ghost Ranch (NM), and has taught topics ranging from Understanding Family Systems, Managing Conflict, Creating Change, Conversational Intelligence, and Tools for Congregational Self-assessment.
In all her work, Jen incorporates ancient spirituality with modern techniques and best practices. She is married to Rev. Gavin Meek, Transitional Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk in New Harmony Presbytery (NE South Carolina) and she enjoys long walks, hiking, tennis, cooking for family and friends, and traveling with Gavin.
Education and Certifications
Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coach Federation, February 2021; Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), February 2013
Registered Yoga Teacher (200 hr), Yoga Alliance, December 2017; YogaWorks Teacher Training, New York, NY; October 2017
Temporary Member of New Harmony Presbytery (PCUSA) and Minister of Word and Sacrament with standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
University of Chicago Divinity School, Master of Divinity
George Washington University, Master of Arts in Education and Human Development
Bethany College (WV), Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Embody to Lead™ was born out of my philosophy that we are all called to lead, and to lead in ways that bring life and health not only to the congregations, organizations or institutions which we serve, but are also life giving to us as leaders. As we cannot give what we do not have, we first must fill our own tanks, so that we can serve others with intention and grace. If we ourselves are not healthy in mind, body and spirit, how can we expect that those we lead will be?
Leadership is no longer afforded to any of us by virtue of our position. We must earn it. Every day and in every moment. We must be adaptive and willing to change how we lead when the challenge presents itself. The old ways of doing things won't work in today's changing environment. To be an effective leader, we must be willing to be changed; in the words of the ancient sage, we build the bridge as we are walking on it.
Embody to Lead™ grew organically out of the work and ministry I felt most called to do in the world. I knew that I needed to be healthy and whole in mind body and spirit if I was going to serve others. If there is anyway that I can assist you to become a better, more holistic leader, please let me know.