The Reverend Jed C. Watson was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, just north of the church he was serving in Lake Villa, Illinois. He earned his BA in Political Science and English at Marquette University in Milwaukee and his MA in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He began his career with the Nebraska State Legislature as a Fiscal and Program Analyst, eventually moving on to Madison, Wisconsin, working first as an analyst with the Wisconsin Sentencing Commision, and then as a Community Services Specialist in the office of Justice Assistance. He was quite successful in this career, but through his experiences with the criminal justice system, he heard his call to ministry. He states in his profile, "I acquired fresh insights into the reality and nature of human brokenness, pain and tragedy". He goes on to state, "my experiences moved me to a much deeper level, and in ways that recalled my Christian faith and perspective. I discovered that the problems that occupied me professionally-violence, abuse, exploitation-are all largely spiritual in nature, products of broken relationships and distorted understandings of ourselves in relation to one another and to God. It was with this sharpened vision and renewed energy that I revisted an idea that I had pondered many times: to seek a career in the Christian ministry".
Consequently, Pastor Jed went to seminary, earning his Master of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He served as a student pastor at a United Church of Christ in Owen, Wisconsin, part-time pastor at another UCC in Hammond, Wisconsin, and full-time Senior pastor at Millburn Congregational United Church of Christ in Lake Villa, Illinois, since 2005. At Millburn, he introduced and sustained ministries for middle-high and high school youth, as well as leading the church through a comprehensive visioning process. The church became more intentionally mission oriented under his leadership, sending adults and youth on work trips each year. He also formed a Contemporary Music band to achieve a blended worship experience for an increasingly younger congregation.
Pastor Jed is married to his wonderful wife, Susan, who is a corporate archivist.
The Search Committe was unanimous in their decision to call Pastor Jed C. Watson to the position of full-time Senior Pastor of Peace Memorial Church. With his leadership and hard work on our part, we can make Peace Memorial Church a blessing to this community.