December Volunteer Spotlight – Jan Kretz

Jan Kretz grew up French Catholic in Haverhill, Massachusetts surrounded by her 62 first cousins. She studied nursing at Fitchburg State College and was working at a local hospital when fate, in the form of an Army recruiter, came for her. He stopped by for her roommate, and he ended up with two recruits! Jan and her friend were both commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps.  This seemed like a good idea since she privately identified as a lesbian and her local area was just too conservative and too close to give her breathing space. Her first assignment was at Walter Reed where she stayed for five years interrupted by a year in Korea.

Having left one church, she was not in a hurry to join another, although she has always been fascinated by theology and knew the value of a spiritual community. But, she was also busy at work and had a fulfilling life in the DC lesbian community. An accidental 2019 meeting with Don Berkemeyer, while she and her wife Lisa were walking in Silver Spring, led them to UUCSS.

Going to church was not without trepidation as she was “petrified” that they wouldn’t fit in. But from the first service, with Rev. Lyn in the pulpit, both Lisa and Jan felt warmly welcomed. In spite of the almost immediate disruption caused by the pandemic, Jan has fit right in. She has worked extensively on Racial Justice Task Force’s external engagement and has deepened her commitment to RJTF. She is currently on the Leadership Development Committee. Now retired, she enjoys lots of physically active sports, auction events involving cooking, and her two poodles. She feels special gratitude for the warmth of the community and the intellectual and spiritual stimulation that UUCSS provides.