Jon Beren Propper
Director of Adult Education
Born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to a Pentecostal evangelist’s family, Jon Beren Propper comes to Park Church as our Director of Adult Education, bringing spiritual insight, academic experience, and a passion for Park’s inclusive mission.
A child-preacher in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), Jon began a spiritual journey that would take him from the fervent halls of Pentecostal worship, to the sacred roots of Judaism, to the ancient devotions of the Nyingmapa Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and finally, home to the Christian church.
A graduate of Aquinas College, Jon has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus on interfaith communication strategies. His senior thesis explored attribution biases in Christian-Muslim dialogue and proposed behaviors for fostering understanding between different faiths.
As a journalist, Jon’s insights on contemporary religious life have been celebrated by The Jewish Daily Forward, New Voices Magazine, The Humanist, The Congregationalist, Patrol Magazine, Soul-Audio, and many more. Jon has deconstructed evangelical End Times prophecy; outlined a vision for inclusion of agnostic and non-believing members within religious communities; articulated the biblical basis for full LGBTQ participation within the life of the church; and built accessible touchpoints for successful interfaith dialogue. He is currently a columnist for NewSacred, the United Church of Christ’s blog on progressive spirituality.
Following graduation, Jon commenced studies as a Student Rabbi at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, where his focus was first century Judaism and the Hebrew Bible. Additionally, he has studied both biblical and modern Hebrew from Hebrew College in Boston, Massachusetts. As an instructor, Jon has taught courses on theological responses to the Holocaust for Darshan Yeshiva, a multi-denominational training program for budding religious educators.
Jon has studied the meditation practices of Tibetan Buddhism under the instruction of the Venerable Khenpo
Following years of study and contemplation, Jon returned to Christianity through the United Church of Christ, where he is now discerning ordained pastoral ministry. His current studies include the resurgence of Christian mysticism, the value of Puritan literature in contemporary life, and the intersection of aesthetics and prayer.
At Park, Jon brings an accessible style of wit and wisdom, which is informed by his unconventional religious journey and many interests. His hobbies include B-movie trivia, board games, and extended strolls with his wife, Lindsay, a member of the Corporate Sustainability team at Steelcase.