For Week 2, Jacque returns with series on playful faith


Mary Lee Talbot
Staff writer

In her ministry, the Rev. Zina Jacque, assistant to the Pastor for Small Groups at Alfred Street Baptist Church, has to plan well in advance for the programs she is offering. For her, a “small group” is 4,000 people viewing the second part of a three-part video Bible study. 

She was already reading Fulfilled: Living and Leading with Unusual Wisdom, Peace and Joy, by Kirk Byron Jones for a leadership education event as she was thinking about her sermon series for Chautauqua.

“Jones says that to be fulfilled as you lead, you need stillness, awareness and playfulness,” said Jacque. “When I got the invitation from Chautauqua, I remembered all the games I loved and the life lessons they taught me.”

Jacque will serve as chaplain at Chautauqua and will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater. The theme for her sermon series is “The Games People Play.” The title of her sermon is “Olly, Olly Oxen Free.” She will also preach at the 9:15 a.m. Monday through Friday morning worship services in the Amp. Titles of her sermons include “Charades,” “Jenga,” “Monopoly,” “Sorry,” and “The Game of Life.”

“We know what play can do to alleviate stress,” she said. “Board games are playful but can teach us so much about the underlying goals and strategies that are important in our lives. Think about charades. Remember the old saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ What do our actions broadcast to the world?”

This will be Jacque’s third visit to Chautauqua. “I love this place because people are curious. Curiosity and judgment can’t coexist. Chautauqua is food for the soul. If we can have courageous conversations that can create curiosity, we can be open to each other and lose our judgemental edge,” she said.

The historic Alfred Street Baptist Church claims 12,000 people involved in ministry. Jacque’s primary responsibility is to facilitate the learning and growth generated among the members who participate in the Villages of Alfred Street. 

“Ministry has to be different in this place,” she said. “It is extraordinary and different from anything I have ever done. I love what I do.”

Jacque arrived in this position after leading the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois for 15 years. Jacque has served on the staff of multicultural, urban and suburban churches and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling and support programs.

She worked in the not-for-profit realm, founding and serving as the first executive director of the Pastoral Counseling Center of Trinity Church Boston and serving as the first executive director of the Boston Ten Point Coalition. Jacque serves as chair of the board of National Senior Communities, a 28,000-resident enterprise of continuing-care retirement communities.

Currently, she serves as one of three founders and a host for A Year of Courageous Conversations. This pivotal project has engaged more than 1,500 local community members and beyond. Through this dialogue series, participants consider how we, as individuals and communities, might foster greater inclusion and belonging in our communities.

Prior to entering ministry, Jacque spent more than 20 years in higher education serving in senior positions at Northwestern University; the University of Chicago; Mills College in Oakland, California; and the University of California.

Jacque holds a doctoral degree in theology (Practical Theology) and a Master of Divinity degree (summa cum laude) from Boston University, a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She has served as an adjunct professor of pastoral care at Boston University and the University of Chicago. She serves on the boards of the American Baptist Churches USA (Board of General Ministries), National Senior Communities and Courageous Conversations Barrington.


The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.