Adey and Tom Wassink, Senior Pastors
Mellman is Jewish. Adey grew up in Skokie, Illinois, a center of Jewish culture on the north side of Chicago. She went to Hebrew school, threw her sins into the Chicago river on Yom Kippur, was bas mitzvahed at 13, and was sure the plane was going to crash when the stewardess told her that the delicious bologna in her one-bite-left sandwich was from a porcine leg that had once put its weight on a cloven hoof (ham from a pig for the goyim out there). And Adey’s family was true to its social/behavioral heritage—boisterous, affectionate, animated and expressive. With 10 people at the table, there were five conversations, with five people there were six conversations; with one person, four (the math was puzzling), all at once, each louder than the next, a symphonic crescendo of kosher passion: “THAT’S WONDERFUL! . . . THAT’S AWFUL! . . . OH MY GOD! . . . HOW CAN THAT BE!!! . . . WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!? . . . YOU’RE AMAZING!!!” Talking, hugging, crying, laughing, and kissing.
Wassink is Dutch. Windmills, klompen shoes, tulips. I (Tom) grew up in Holland (Michigan) which is near Zeeland which is near Overisel and Drenthe and Graafschap and which was settled by the Dutch Reformed Calvinist revolutionary Reverend Dr. Albertus C Van Raalte in 1847 in the middle of nowhere Michigan to escape religious persecution in the Netherlands. For all his revolutionariness, however, the Dutch folk who came along, and their descendents—at least my family—stayed true to our social/behavioral heritage: quiet, staid, and proper. One conversation at a time, no matter how many at the table; don’t get too excited (things will get worse) or too sad (you’re not dead yet); clapping and shouting only when your team (Go Blue!) wins, and quiet tears only at funerals as you eat jello salad and sliced ham on a white bun (crying for the deceased, not the food).
So when Adey and I met, it was somewhere between peanut butter and jelly and matter-antimatter: wonderful complementarity that produced a lot of energy. And 5 children. And now a church. We came to Iowa City in 1996, from Evanston, Illinois. While in Evanston, I went through college, medical school, and then residency training in psychiatry, and Adey trained and worked as a counselor and as a staff pastor for the Evanston Vineyard. Both of us would say that we “came to life” spiritually during our 18 years in the Evanston church, and some of that experience is what we’re hoping to reproduce here.
It was a University of Iowa Hospital fellowship for me in psychiatric research that drew us to Iowa City. We came for a two year stay, which soon became three, then a decade, and that now is stretching to ∞ and beyond! We fell in love with Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and all the surrounding communities; the Ped Mall, the University, the farmers’ markets; the arts and the artists; walks in the Grant Wood hills covered with blue sky; and the vibrant diversity that an urban city surrounded by gorgeous farm land brings. We thought,This is it: We are home.
We also, over time, have become connected to a group of folks who share a vision for church. Church not as a place where you dress nicely, behave well, and pretend life is good so that God will like you—church not primarily as religion—but church as a group of humans desperate to make God the center of our world, or to find our way to the center of His.
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Adey is the Senior Pastor of the church. She sets the vision, raises and trains leaders, oversees the pastoral staff, helps to launch new groups and initiatives, oversees pastoral care of people in the church, and teaches on Sundays. She holds a Doctor in Missiology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Tom is co-Senior Pastor with Adey. He too participates in vision setting, works with communication in all its many forms, and teaches on Sunday. Tom is also a Staff Psychiatrist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where he has clinical responsibilities and runs a laboratory performing research into the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders.
David Borger Germann, Executive Pastor
David is the Executive Pastor and an ordained minister. He graduated with a Masters of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary in May, 2010. He participates in the general leadership of the church while focusing more closely on outreach and overall administration. He is married to Ali who is an English teacher at City High. David and Ali have two children, Josh and Ben. Ask David what he's reading, and he's likely to give you a long list of novels and non-fiction books ranging from philosophy to gardening.
Amy Kraber, Kids Pastor
Since joining the Sanctuary staff in 2012 as an Kids Ministry Assistant, Amy has devoted countless hours to our Kids Wing. As of July, 2018, we have over 160 children who call Sanctuary their church home. And Amy helps make the Kids Wing a place where all these amazing kids can explore faith in a fun and safe environment.