Pr. Jack Wilder was born in 1957 in Santa Ana, California and grew up as a professional Marine Corps Officer's Brat. He attended college at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN (B.A., History, Class of 1979) and went to graduate school at East Tennessee State University (M.A., Russian History, Class of 1983.) After earning his M.A. degree he lived in Morristown, TN for a several years working at various jobs. While in Morristown the Lutherans found him (he was not looking for them), and he became a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church In Morristown. His pastor, Julian Gordy, assisted him in discerning a call to ordained ministry and guided him on the path to Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC.
While in seminary he served an internship year at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke in Chicago. He graduated seminary in 1991 and was ordained on 4 October 1991. He served at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Verona, NY, 1 October 1991 to 19 May 1996. While there, he led the relocation of the congregation and the successful completion of a 50-year old building program. He served at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Oak Hill, NY, 1 January 1997 to 31 July 1999. While there he assisted the synod staff with the yoking of St. Paul's with the Lutheran Parish of Hudson and Churchtown in 1998. He also served as President of the Greenville Area Council of Churches and facilitated the transformation of that organization into the Greenville Interfaith Council, bringing Buddhist and Hindu representation onto the council. He served at the Lutheran Parish of Hudson & Churchtown, NY (St. John's and St. Thomas), 1 August 1998 to 20 July 2008. He led a Lutheran-Roman Catholic grass roots cooperative ministry with the leaders of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Churchtown, NY from 2006-2008. In 2008 he led the 140 year old congregation of St. John's Lutheran Church in Hudson through the process of closing the church with grace and dignity. He served at Salem Lutheran Church and Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Parrottsville, TN from 20 July 2008 to 24 December 2012.
He served as Interim Pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Knoxville, TN from 15 September 2013 to 30 March 2014. After Pr. Jerry Weeks was called to Gloria Dei, Pr. Jack left to serve as the Intentional Interim Pastor at Cross of Grace Mission Development in Jonesborough on 6 April 2014. Upon the sudden death of Pr. Jerry Weeks, Pr. Jack was asked by leaders of Gloria Dei and the Synod Staff to return to Gloria Dei. In July 2014 he accepted a call from Gloria Dei to a two-year term call and left Cross of Grace.
He met his wife Leslie in seminary. Also ordained in 1991, Leslie has served congregations in upstate New York and now serves as the pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Morristown. Pr. Jack and Leslie have one daughter, Ayla, 18 years old, whom they adopted when she was three months old. Pr.Jack has a dog (he is very much a dog person), a guinea pig, and a cat who appeared in his carport one day and never left. His interests include military history, scale model airplanes and model ships, reading, good music, and science fiction. He is a fan of Doctor Who and the Honor Harrington novel series. His theological interests include New Testament studies, ecumenism, and the importance of God's compassion for modern society.
The WELCA group at Gloria Dei meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 12:00 p.m. for Bible Study. Participants bring their own lunch and a hostess provides a dessert and drink.
The WELCA participates in various projects and activities for the Church and community, including:
Gloria Dei's WELCA provides funds for supplies at Family Promise and Tyson House, as well as purchases some of the items for quilts and school kits for LWR.
Sunday-morning learning for all ages is offered at 10:15 a.m.Children’s messages are included in Sunday worship. Childcare is available all Sunday morning as needed, and kids’ bags are stuffed with soft toys, books, and crayons. Borrow one. They’re available at the Sanctuary entrance, whenever you forget “provisions” from home.
Enjoy the summer months with a slightly earlier start time 10:30 am.
Get out and enjoy Sunday afternoon!