Meet Pastor Jerry

Tell us a little about yourself:

My family, the Bertelson’s, have lived in the southeast South Dakota area since the late 1880s. My roots run deep in the area and I’m grateful for the opportunity to return ‘home.’

I was born in Sioux Falls and grew up around the Hartford area. I attended the University of Sioux Falls and graduated in 2006 with a degree in theology and philosophy. I then attended Fuller Seminary, graduating in 2009 (M.Div), Sioux Falls Seminary, earning a certificate in Spiritual Direction in 2017, and I am currently a D.Min. student in the contextual theology program at Northern Seminary in Illinois (anticipated graduation date of 2020). I am an ordained American Baptist pastor (First Baptist Church of Glendale, CA, June 2009).

I met my wife, Tami, while in college and we were married in 2006. We have been blessed with three daughters, Alina, age 9, Kennedy, age 6, and Clara, age 3. We also have a small dog named Sophie.

In addition to United Church, I have served two other churches since seminary – First Baptist Church of Boone, Iowa, and The Church on Northland (a federated American Baptist / Church of the Brethren congregation) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

I enjoy reading, spending time with family, collecting typewriters, and exploring the countryside on my motorcycle.

What drew you to consider and accept this Call?

I was drawn to United Church because of its intentional engagement with the community, its energetic children and youth ministry, and its desire to be a community church for all people.  

 What are you most excited about as you begin your ministry?

I am excited to see how God will continue to bless the community through United Church, through ongoing children’s ministry and community partnerships.

 How can we be praying for you?

Please pray for this transition period for myself, my family and the church.