M. Jenelyn “Jen” Wessler (pictured), former continuing education instructor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and widow of former Louisville Seminary professor Dan Wessler, died December 2, 2016, at her home in Ashland, Oregon, following an illness. She was 92 years old.
From 1976-1978, Jen worked with her husband, Dan, at Louisville Seminary under a Lilly Foundation grant in the development of a faith formation curriculum. They co-taught a class entitled "The Gifts of Silence" that many students said was the best class they ever took. Jen also taught the “Life Springs” continuing education course.
At Louisville Seminary, Dan served as associate professor of homiletics (1966-1968), associate professor of worship and communication (1968-1971), and professor of worship and communication (1971-1984). He then served as a professor emeritus of worship and communication from 1984 until his death in 2005.
Louisville Seminary Trustee and alum, Mark Goodman-Morris, recalls the positive and powerful impact that Jen and Dan had on the seminary community.
“Jen and Dan served the seminary with energy, imagination and great faith influencing a generation of pastors,” said Goodman-Morris (MDiv ‘76, DMin ’85), whose spouse, Cheryl (MDiv ’77), attended Louisville Seminary as well. “Personally, Dan and Jen were our mentors, and Cheryl and I credit them with giving us the freedom and encouragement to lean fully into the creative and wonderfully crazy things we have done in our ministry. And maybe, just as importantly for us, they introduced us to Ashland, Oregon, and offered us warm and generous hospitality on their beautiful homestead over the years. We now call Ashland home, and we feel called to offer that same hospitality to others as a part of our call in retirement.”
In addition to her work with Louisville Seminary and the Presbyterian Church, Jen was also a member of the Sisters of Loretto, Kagyu Sukha Choling and the First Congregational United Church of Christ. Prior to her work at Louisville Seminary, Jen worked with the Louisville Area Council of Churches, where she helped to identify peaceful solutions on public school integration in Louisville and Jefferson County.
Jen Wessler is survived by her children, Micheline, Marianthe and Ian; and grandchildren, Jamin, Nico, Stephanie, Dave, and Leah. Memorial contributions may be made to any organization that promotes our shared human essence and sustains the environmental health of the planet.
A celebration of Jen Wessler’s life will take place Sunday, February 19, at Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ashland, Oregon.