Lay Preachers Intros

04.08.21

    Parish leadership, in consultation with Archbishop Hebda, confirmed a path last Spring toward the revitalization of  Lay Preaching at GA. While the Archbishop did not approve the placement of this preaching in the space following the Gospel, he did leave it to our pastor’s discretion to offer Lay Preaching before the liturgy. A year of discernment, prayer, study and practice has led to the Commissioning of four Lay Preachers in service to our community.

    Nancylee Jonza

    My husband Jim and I and my two children, Matt and Katie, joined Guardian Angels in July 1996 when we moved back to Minnesota from Texas. Since then, we have all been active in parish activities. I have sung with the Seraph Singers and Liturgical Ensemble, taught children’s Faith Formation, served as a Eucharistic Minister, led Bible studies, served on the Liturgy Commission, the Education Commission, and been an active member of the Women’s Club. All of these activities have been a blessing and increased my faith in our generous, merciful God.

    A variety of careers, experience and education led me to join the lay preaching team. For 15 years, I taught English at the university level and I loved reading and discussing how the written word could help us to grow, learn and see our lives in different ways. I also published a biography of a Catholic writer, an experience that helped me understand the ways faith can be expressed and hidden in writing. Finally, I was blessed to return to school after I retired from teaching to complete a Master of Divinity from St. John’s University in Collegeville. I took every opportunity I could to learn more about the scriptures, our church’s teachings and the way personal faith grows  and changes. I look forward to breaking open the scriptures with you and exploring how God’s word speaks to our everyday lives, hopes, fears and joys. 

    Mike Hansel

    I am a retired Environmental Engineer, a husband of nearly 44 years (yes, my wife Maggie Lindberg is a saint!), father of two daughters, and a grandfather of two granddaughters. I am an actor, a singer, and a writer in my retirement. My wife and I have lived in Lake Elmo for the past 39 years and have been members of Guardian Angels since 1982. I’m a liturgical minister, a member of the choir, GA Responds: Church at a Crossroads, Blessed is She and the Men’s Club. I also serve as a trustee for the parish.

    I remember the original group of lay preachers we had several years ago,  and was impressed with how they presented their take on the Gospel and their life experiences. Based on their preaching, and on the training process we undertook, I felt I too could share my views on the Gospel and how it applies to our lives today.

    George Brewster

    My wife Robyn and I have four children (Ana, Rafi, Zach and Eli)  and one grandchild (Alaycia). I retired in December from a position of 20+ years in sales senior management in order that I might step into a What’s Next in which I could use my skills, experience and strong desire to have a more direct impact on our community, society and the world. I am currently a MN Math Corps math tutor to sixteen 4th graders. It’s awesome! Robyn and I became parishioners at GA a little over two years ago in a desire to grow roots in a parish community closer-to-home that is focused on uncovering Christ’s presence in community and that is deeply committed to the Gospel of social justice – Jesus’ call in Matthew 25. Early in my career, I served in three different youth ministry settings and witnessed first-hand the transformational power available to individuals who put themselves in deeper, more contemplative conversations with one another. Through some nudgings by the Spirit and from a few GA folk, I discerned the call to this preaching ministry because it is my hope that together we will assist each other in seeing God’s presence, activity and challenge. I hope that by doing so, God’s word might be broken open for me and for you - for today, in the Here and Now.

    Cami Smalley

    My husband Steve and I have three adult children (Meredith, Elizabeth, and Ben), and I work as a professional wellness coach. When we were looking to relocate to Minnesota 16 years ago,    we prioritized “church-shopping” so we could settle near to our faith community. Guardian Angels caught my attention immediately for its welcoming presence, incredible music ministry, commitment to social justice, and at the time, Lay Preaching. We have been engaged members ever since. I enrolled my youngest in Guardian Angels preschool and taught religious education. Over the years, I became a eucharistic minister and sacristan. I have taught Movement Meditation in our beautiful historic church for more than 10 years. And I enjoy serving on the Pastoral Council, the GA Responds committee, and as our deanery representative to the Lay Advisory Board.

    I am honored to participate in the return of lay preaching to Guardian Angels. My personal spirituality is inspired by St. Francis as I often seek connection to God in the natural world and hope to serve the world as   an instrument of peace. I enjoy hiking, biking, bird-watching, scuba, skiing, and all things outdoors! It is my hope to serve our community by exploring scripture through study, prayer, and reflection and to connect this wisdom in meaningful ways with the varied ways we live, move, and find our being in the world.

    Contact Suzanne Bernet at or 651-789-3181 with questions or to find out more.

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