The Rev. Jeffrey D. Braun

The Rev. Jeffrey D. Braun

Senior Pastor

Jeff’s calling in life is to share God’s word of love as spoken through Jesus, to make sure that everyone knows they have a seat at the table and to help us all recognize our oneness in God and with all God’s children.

It took him a while to recognize this call, however. Though he grew up going to church and relished everything about it, after graduating college in 1990, Jeff went into marketing and worked for 10 years at a top New York global ad agency, and at a marketing consulting firm.

But it wasn’t who he truly was. And he knew it. Something, or Someone, called him to drop what he was doing and attend Yale Divinity School. Most of the time he was at Yale he wasn’t totally sure why, until one day, while doing a hospital chaplaincy internship, he was asked to conduct the funeral for one of the oncology patients he’d been visiting with. And he said, “Yes.” And in that Yes, it was like he finally said Yes to all that God had been calling him to be and do. And to all the places God had been wanting to take him.

In 2015, that Yes brought Jeff to Winnetka Congregational Church, as our Senior Pastor, to walk with and guide this congregation.

Jeff loves the gift of humor and sharing in it with others, yet he’s also fueled by life’s sacred, serious moments. Perhaps, not surprisingly, tears come almost as easily to him as laughter. His thoughtfulness, intelligence, passion and openness come through whether he’s delivering a sermon from the pulpit, chatting at coffee hour or getting silly with our 8th grade confirmation group. A real listener and an encourager, he’s also not afraid to shake things up –  stand up for justice and inclusion, challenge folks to rethink their image of Jesus and reimagine what the church could be and push us all to become more of who God created us to be.

He lives in Winnetka with his wife Lori, and their three daughters, so you might spot him at one of his “happy places,” the Aroma Café, or see him on one of his long, early morning runs, headphones on, with his favorite playlist going.