The Rev. Jenna Strizak, Rector

Mother Jenna (or just Jenna, whatever you prefer) comes to St. Benedict’s from Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur, GA, where she served as associate rector for over eight years. She served as a priest to the whole parish-- sharing in sacramental and administrative leadership-- with particular passions for teaching and preaching, small group ministries, building up the ministry of the baptized, and working with young children and their families. Jenna graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and received her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, with a focus on Anglican/Episcopal Studies and Christian Formation. She was ordained a deacon in 2012 and a priest on Baptism of Our Lord in 2013. Before ordination, Jenna worked as a hospice chaplain and college admissions counselor.


Mother Jenna is committed to serving the whole church; she served as president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Atlanta and currently serves on the Commission on Ministry. Jenna is also chaplain for one of the Episcopal residential houses at Candler, working with seminarians as they are formed for ministry. Her favorite book of scripture is John’s gospel: and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!


Jenna was born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and spent nine years in Western Massachusetts before moving to Atlanta in 2008; she’s been in love with this state and this diocese ever since. In non-covid times, Jenna is an avid Sacred Harp singer: singing old, American a cappella hymns together… loudly! She’s a slow-but-committed hiker, a creative cook, and loves road trips and spending time with her two year old goddaughter.

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Emily Avant, Seminarian

Emily is a first-year student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and is a postulant for ordination in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She is pursuing her Master of Divinity after a 16-year business and legal career, most recently at WarnerMedia. Along with Emily, we welcome her husband Sewell and her children Richard (age 10) and Betsy (age 8).


Emily hopes to spend her time at St. Benedict's learning how to serve a church community, particularly through preaching, liturgy, and pastoral care. She is excited to integrate her family into the life of our congregation at St. Benedict's, and looks forward to getting to know each of you.


In her spare time, Emily loves to connect with God through kayaking, music, and abstract art.