We were delighted to welcome Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson back to Albany Presbytery during the Presbytery meeting on February 4, 2017. Donna was a previously a member of Albany Presbytery and we wanted to catch up and share more about her for everyone.
Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up, any siblings, etc?
I grew up in the hustle and bustle of north New Jersey in Bergen County. Most of our family time, though, was spent escaping the traffic and heading out into the woods to hike and canoe. My older brother, who is special needs, enjoyed that time outdoors. My older sister—not so much. In fact, as I moved back home to upstate New York/Vermont, she was moving to Florida. We are total opposites.
Share with us a little about your hobbies?
I have always loved history and enjoyed hobbies that reflected early American living. I have done candle making and weaving and tried my hand at creating a Colonial kitchen garden. My time in Maryland inspired me to take up quilting. I lived near Lancaster, PA, so I spent my Sabbath days exploring all the wonderful fabric stores. I’m now on my fifth quilt. Currently, I am trying to convince my husband to help me build a writer’s cabin at our home, The Old Stone Well Farm, as well as a Colonial outdoor bread oven. I also love hiking and since coming back home want to tackle climbing the area’s high peaks.
How did you connect with PC(USA)?
I was a member of the Reformed Church in America when I began the ordination process in my second year at Princeton Theological Seminary. I was working at a PC(USA) church then and my minister was instrumental in making me a Presbyterian.
When were you last associated with the Albany Presbytery?
I became a member of Albany Presbytery in 2007 when I was called to pastor a rural church in Washington County. I left in 2013.
What have you been doing while you were away?
I’ve been serving as a full-time pastor. I worked in a non-PCUSA church in Dutchess County, NY and then moved on to serve a Presbyterian congregation in Maryland. While serving in these churches, I began writing a blog about my adventures of going from a former New York City magazine editor to a country pastor. The blog has grown in the year and a half since its launch. You can read more at accidentalcountrypastor.com. I also started video devotions at the same site and on Facebook at Donna Frischknecht/AccidentalCountryPastor.
What brought you back to Albany Presbytery?
It was the strong call of God that often we can’t make any sense of, but must follow. I grappled with that call to come home but all God signs were pointing my husband and I back north. And so here I am. It is also wonderful to be back near my husband’s family and my stepdaughter. My mom, dad and brother are also looking to move to Vermont/Upstate New York as well. God is up to something wonderful.
What are you looking forward to now that you are back in Capital Region?
As I write my book and blog, moonlight as a newspaper reporter and get to experience our wonderful congregations on a Sunday morning as I pulpit supply, I look forward to being part of a revitalization for our presbytery’s smaller, rural congregations. I have come to realize God called me to rural ministry to advocate for those who feel overlooked.
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