Jeffrey Krehbiel ’82
Jeffrey Krehbiel ’82 died at home on Thursday, April 27, 2017 with family by his side. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, he studied political science at Hope College where he met his wife of 35 years, Cheryl. Together they moved to Chicago where Jeff earned his Master of Divinity from McCormick Seminary in 1986.
A Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor for 35 years, Jeff’s devotion to urban ministry led him to pastorates at Good Shepherd-Faith on the West Side of Manhattan, West Church in inner-city Wilmington, Delaware, and, in August 2000, Church of the Pilgrims in Washington DC, where he served for 16 years. In addition to urban ministry, Jeff’s passions included community organizing, interactive Bible study, Biblical storytelling, and post-modern worship.
A true pastor-theologian, Jeff completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in Gospel and Culture at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, in 2004. The focus of his doctoral work was the “missional” calling of the church in contemporary North American culture: in our pluralistic, post-modern, post-Christian era, Jeff believed the church is called to be a community of alternative values, and practices, that bears witness to the gospel in common life. He believed that faith communities could challenge themselves to become agents of change, leading to his decades-long commitment to community organizing. In 1994, he co-founded the Wilmington Interfaith Network, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
In Washington, DC, he served as co-Chair of the Washington Interfaith Networkand in 2010, he authored Reflecting with Scripture on Community Organizing, published by Acta. He held leadership positions in the Presbyterian Church (USA) regionally and nationally, as member of the NEXT Church Advisory Board, Moderator of National Capital Presbytery, Chair of the Presbytery Council, Commissioner to the General Assembly, and served on many committees. He was an early advocate for inclusiveness in the church, as pastor of More Light congregations since the earliest days of the movement, and as Board Member of More Light Presbyterians since 2014.
Called to serve and support other churches and stretch his skills, Jeff left the pulpit in 2017 to accept a position at The James Company, a fundraising organization. In addition to serving as Program Director, Jeff was to guide the James Company to greater engagement with community organizing through partnership with Metro IAF, a national community organizing group Jeff had worked with previously. This new role brought him back to Chicago, Illinois. Family and friends hold beloved memories of adventures, his connectedness, and all around love of life. He embraced travel, was fully at home in the great outdoors, enjoyed camping, sailing, and in 2015 completed the Camino de Santiago with his sister, Janet. He wrote his own songs, played the guitar, and jammed with friends. He loved to cook and entertain, for groups from the small to the multitudinous, and was grill master at their vacation house on Douglas Lake. He sought out unusual beers, fine wine, and in later years developed a taste for peaty single malt scotch and the occasional cigar on the deck.
Jeff was preceded in death by his father, The Reverend David Krehbiel. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; two daughters, Andrea of San Mateo, CA and Kelsey of Chicago; his mother, Martha of Ann Arbor; siblings, Carol (JoAnn) of Mars, PA, Janet (Henry) of Highland Park, IL, Susan (Norman) of Baltimore, Doug (Maged) of Brooklyn; three nieces; one nephew and numerous relatives and friends throughout the world.