Getting to know Jared Cramer
Below is an article from the November 14, 2015, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune about our rector, Fr. Jared Cramer.
This is part of a regular feature, which will normally run on Saturdays, and will appear on the pages of the Grand Haven Tribune and online at grandhaventribune.com. We’ll sit down with a local personality and ask them several questions.
Name: The Very Rev. Jared Cramer
What’s your current (or most recent) job? I serve as the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Grand Haven. I am also employed by our diocese, serving as the dean of the Lakeshore Deanery of the Diocese of Western Michigan.
You would be surprised to learn that: Glenn on "The Walking Dead" is actually dead. I think he must still be alive.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would you pick and why? My Grandpa Cramer. I was very close to him and he died while I was in my final year of seminary in Tennessee. Not only did I not have the opportunity to say goodbye, but he never met my wife, Bethany. I think the two of them would have been fast friends.
What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited? I've been on several pilgrimages and archeological trips to Israel and Jordan. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church erected over where Jesus was crucified and buried, is one of the most powerful places I've ever been.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy hunting of all kinds, particularly bow hunting. My wife and I enjoy cross-country skiing in the winter and kayaking the rest of the year. When she is busy and I'm not at work, then I enjoy relaxing with a good video game, particularly anything from the Call of Duty or Halo series.
What’s your favorite restaurant? I eat a lot at Don Luis, here in Grand Haven. ¡Los trabajadores allí estan mis amigos favoritos!
Favorite book? "The Wounded Healer" by Father Henri Nouwen always speaks to me. I also love C.S. Lewis' science-fiction trilogy.
What class was the most beneficial to you? A class on pastoral theology taught by Mother Julia Gatta in Sewanee, Tenn. She focused on the integration of theology, spirituality and administration as a single discipline, each part essential to the other. She taught me that, as a priest, I must be attentive first to my own relationship with God.
Have you ever met any celebrities? I had the honor of meeting the former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at a conference in New York City. He is one of my favorite modern theologians.
What’s your can’t-live-without piece of technology? That would probably be my iPhone.
What’s your favorite app? Rosetta Stone is a tremendously helpful learning tool. As our Latino ministry initiative started this year, I'm now celebrating Eucharist in Spanish each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and preaching in Spanish every other week. Rosetta Stone is helping me get closer to fluency.
If you weren’t in your current position, what would you like to do? The most natural change for me would to be a professor of ascetical theology, the aspect of theology that focuses on spiritual disciplines. If I was to exit work in the church entirely, I always say that if I could make a living at it, I would go back to bartending. I loved being a bartender and still miss it!
If you could travel back in time to any certain era or event, when/where would you pick, and why? I would love to travel back to the first century and experience what it was like to follow Christ in the first century. We all tend to paint a picture of Christ who believes like we believe, who likes the people we like and dislikes the people we dislike. I think it would be fascinating to get to know the person himself.
Who was the biggest influence on your life? My dad is a huge influence. He taught me that, no matter the vocation, when you come home, your attention should be on your family. If the day was good or hard, you leave it at the door and enjoy the blessing of family.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show? Well, I already mentioned "The Walking Dead," so I'll give another. Whenever I am feeling discouraged, I like to watch "The West Wing." I thought it was a remarkably balanced show politically and it always seems to inspire me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Be attentive to the presence of God in your life. Receive that love. Everything else will follow.
What do you love about West Michigan? I love having most all of my family within a 45-minute drive. The only close family that is far away is my mother. She lives outside of Leeds (U.K.) with my stepfather. I also love all four seasons — especially the snow!
Do you have any pets? My wife and I have a dog named Cappadocian (he goes by Cappy, for short). He is a mixed breed dog I rescued from the pound when I was doing my first graduate degree in West Texas almost 10 years ago.
What’s at the top of your bucket list? To return to the Holy Land, only this time with my wife. Sharing your favorite things with the person you love is a gift and I want to walk those trails with her.
What’s your pet peeve? Triangulation. This is when people talk to someone else instead of the person they actually have the problem with. It is at the source of so much conflict in communities. When we follow Jesus' teaching in Matthew 18 and sit down, in person, to talk with someone with whom we have a disagreement, we tend to be so much more enriched than when we complain about them to others.