…I’m The Venerable Jennifer Gaines McKenzie, an Episcopal Priest currently serving as Archdeacon of Wigan and West Lancs in the Diocese of Liverpool, UK. People call me by different titles: ‘Ms. McKenzie’, ‘Archdeacon Jennifer’, ‘Mother Jennifer’, ‘Father’ (yep, I’m serious)’–and there are three kids who just call me ‘Mom.’ But you may simply call me ‘Jen’ or ‘Jennifer’–the name given to me at my baptism!”
The Ven. Jennifer McKenzie was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida attending Christ Episcopal Church with her ‘tribe’. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988 from Auburn University with a major in French and a double minor in Visual Arts. Jennifer+ graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in 2004 and was ordained a transitional deacon in June of that year at the Washington National Cathedral by The Rt. Rev’d. Peter James Lee. On January 6, 2005 (The Feast of the Epiphany) she was ordained a priest by her cousin, The Rt. Rev. Charles Keyser, retired Suffragan Bishop of the Armed Forces (now Federal Ministries), near the 50th anniversary of his ordination. The priesting was held at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. where she was serving as Assistant Rector and had served as seminarian.
Archdeacon Jennifer has also served as Associate Rector at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia and as Interim Associate Rector at Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke, Virginia. Most recently in the States she led the 18-member congregation of Epiphany, Oak Hill as Priest-In-Charge as they regained access to the 40,000+ sq. ft. property won back by The Diocese of Virginia in legal proceedings. Under The Rev. McKenzie’s leadership, the congregation grew 600% in their first nine months back in their church home, attracting a diverse population and incorporating the preschool that had been abandoned by the previous congregation.
Over the past 30 years and prior to coming to Liverpool, Jennifer+ has been involved in Episcopal parishes in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, California, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. serving in a variety of capacities including both full and part-time paid and volunteer positions, including Parish Administrator, Diocesan Regional Youth Coordinator, Youth Pastor, Seminarian, Deacon, and Priest. She is a strong advocate for broadening lay leadership and ministry and for helping all of the baptised to discern their spiritual gifts for ministry.
Archdeacon Jennifer also completed a sabbatical focused on advocacy for mental health care reform and an informal study on evangelism-by-invitation. She is passionate about both of those areas, seeing the need for strong development of each in community and church respectively.