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Jaco & Barbara mesh ministry and community | Who's Who

Community involvement comes a calling for Ministers Jaco & Barbara ten Hove - Brad Camp/For the Review
Community involvement comes a calling for Ministers Jaco & Barbara ten Hove
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

The church that Jaco and Barbara ten Hove co-minister doesn’t have a door. It doesn’t have any windows or a roof either. In fact, Cedar Unitarian Universalist Church doesn’t have an actual building, but the ten Hoves see that as a good thing.

Without a dedicated structure, their ministry isn’t contained within four walls.

When they took the co-ministerial position in 2008, Cedars UU was meeting at Bainbridge Performing Arts. Within months, the venue moved to Webster Hall at The Island School on Day Road.

“It’s been a good fit for us,” Jaco said.

They are happy to be living on Bainbridge Island, which they first visited in the mid-1990s while serving separate congregations in the Seattle area. They thought they might have to wait until they retired to make the island their home, but an opening at CUU made it possible to combine their ministry with a place they love.

The ten Hoves have been a good fit for the congregation, too, which wanted ministers willing to be involved in the community.

The two, who will celebrate 21 years together in October, have not lost any time weaving themselves into a number of organizations.

Barbara made a beeline to Helpline House where she works a weekly shift at the food bank.

“That organization is so well run,” she said. “One of the best I’ve ever worked with.”

She is also on the board of the Seabeck Conference Center in Seabeck.

Creativity, music in particular, has been a big aspect of their ministry.

Barbara has been in two BPA musicals, “Man of La Mancha” and “The Producers,” and recently sang with Bainbridge Chorale. She asked Cedars Music Director Chris Smellow to put music to the church’s mission statement: Worship with open hearts, nurture a learning spirit, serve justice with compassion and love without judgment.

“Music is very important to us,” she said.

Jaco, who has played guitar since the fifth grade, accompanies as Barbara leads the Community Singers entertaining folks at Wyatt House and Madison Avenue Retirement Centers.

Jaco recently accepted the position of president of the Bainbridge Island North Kitsap Interfaith Council, a 20-member group of local faith communities. They converge to collaborate and cooperate on projects such as the monthly Super Suppers, which provide free, hot dinners the last five business days of every month on Bainbridge Island.

He participated in Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2009 and 2010. “I am very supportive of that effort,” he said.

But clearly the concept of stewardship is a prime focus for Jaco. He was a charter member of the Community Energy Task Force out of which came Positive Energy and the RePower Bainbridge program. He was instrumental in organizing the Frog Rock Forum in June. He recently became a docent at IslandWood, which he considers “a holy place.” For two years he has joined other volunteers for the Watershed Council to help feed salmon fry. And he’s  often seen at Sustainable Bainbridge gatherings.

The ten Hoves have crafted a low-impact lifestyle as much as possible, sharing one car and living in Winslow where they can walk to shopping, eateries and the ferry terminal.

“When we came here we knew we wanted to stay a long time,” Barbara said.

- Connie Mears

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