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James Gertmenian was born in South Pasadena, California in 1947. He has degrees from Oberlin College (B.A., 1969), Union Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1972) and United Theological Seminary (Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, 2008).

The Rev. Gertmenian’s first pastorate was in a two-point rural parish near Binghamton, New York, where he served as co-pastor with his wife from 1972 until 1979. He then was called by the Presbytery of Southern New England to undertake a New Church Development in Danbury, CT. This pastorate continued through the building of a church edifice in 1988. From 1989 until 1996 he was Senior Minister of Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, CT. He was installed as Senior Minister of Plymouth Church, Minneapolis, in October 1996.

Through his career, the Rev. Gertmenian has served on various civic and denominational boards. He was elected to two terms as a member of the School Board in his first parish. He was a cofounder and board member of the Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury, CT.

During his pastorate in Minneapolis, he helped to found the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation (now PORTICO Interfaith Housing Collaborative), which has created nearly $50 million in affordable and supportive housing since 1999. In 2006 he co-chaired the Commission to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County and he serves on the Steering Committee of Heading Home Minnesota, an effort to end homelessness throughout the State.

He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He has helped to found the Plymouth Center for Progressive Christian Faith, an organization which nurtures young progressive Christian leaders.

The grandson of Armenian immigrants from Turkey, he has also taken an interest in developments in the Republic of Armenia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In particular, he assisted in the establishment of a Pediatric Health Care program in Yerevan (Armenia’s capital) under the auspices of AmeriCares, a Connecticut-based world relief organization. During a 2003 sabbatical, he visited Armenian sites in Turkey, including his ancestral village. In addition, he visited the Gertmenian School in Beirut, founded by his grandfather in 1931.

The Rev. Gertmenian is a hymn-writer, with several of his works appearing in various denominational hymnals, including The New Century Hymnal (UCC) and The Book of Praise (Presbyterian Church in Canada). A choral anthem for which he wrote both words and music was published by Mark Foster Press, and his hymn text, The Fallow Heart Is God’s Own Field, was premiered in an anthem setting composed by Randall Davidson in 1999.

His interests include music (piano, guitar), running (New York Marathon, 1993), theater and travel. He's married to Susan Deborah King, a poet and teacher. Together they're parents of twin daughters, Emily (an elementary school teacher) and Enid (a social worker). The family are summer residents of Great Cranberry Island, Maine.

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James Gertmenian



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