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Green Forest

4Pines Spiritual Direction

cultivating meaning

I'm Jen.
And this is 4Pines Spiritual Direction.

I'm a queer pastor, writer and spiritual director in the Portland Oregon Metro area where I work with groups and individuals to cultivate meaning. Let's be in touch!
Inquire about scheduling an initial conversation here. 

A picture of Jen, wearing a shirt covered with eyes and smiling
Pine Cone

What is 

What to know before you book a session

The Basics
In individual spiritual direction, we cultivate meaning and engage purpose in conversation with another person.  In a spiritual direction session, writing, gentle movement, breath work, prayer, ritual and conversation may all be the seeds that are planted in the rich soil of your own experience and inner wisdom. What will grow from these seeds is different for each person.

Spiritual Direction sessions are one hour and typically scheduled every three to four weeks, usually via Zoom.  In person sessions in the Metro Portland area can be arranged. Sessions are currently billed on a sliding scale of $65-$100.

You may want to utilize spiritual direction for a few sessions to address a pressing concern or need. Or you may feel that the time is right to develop a longer relationship, over a period of years. Our first conversation is free and comes with no obligation. You can inquire about scheduling here

A bit about me

My training was at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry, where I studied with students and teachers from dozens of interfaith traditions.  I'm ordained in and am active in a congregation of the United Church of Christ, a progressive denomination, which embraces and includes many forms of spiritual expression and practice. All this is a long way of saying that I welcome the opportunity to work with you, no matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey!

The 2020 Portland protests that followed the murder of George Floyd brought to the surface wounds that had been festering underground for too long and it was an honor to be a clergy witness to those transformative events. Black, Brown, and Indigenous Lives Matter. And as long as we're stating the obvious, let me add that transwomen are women, healthcare is a human right, it's a housing problem not a homelessness problem and neurodiversity is a gift.  As a cis-gender, queer, white, curvy, middle-aged, middle-class, progressive Christian woman, I am aware that I am always navigating the boundaries of both the privilege and the marginality that I experience in everyday life. 

My own spiritual practices and interests include yoga, women's ritual, centering prayer, free writing, 12 step recovery, the enneagram, internal family systems, exploring notions of ability and embodiment, and experience of moral injury as a result of pandemic. I bring all of these interests to my practice and look forward to learning about the practices that are important and healing for you as well. 

Ready to explore spiritual direction? Inquire about scheduling here. 

Boring but important: Spiritual Directors do not currently have an accreditation process. I am a member of Spiritual Director's International and I have regular meetings with a peer supervision group. 4Pines Spiritual Direction is an Oregon LLC.

Morning Mist over Forest
Other services

Working with Groups

In addition to individual spiritual direction, I also work with groups and organizations which are interested in cultivating meaning and addressing spiritual issues such as purpose, mission and values. Contact me and let's talk about how we can design a retreat or event for your group.

Life Events

Do you have an event coming up? I am available as a wedding officiant or end-of-life celebrant. Contact me and we will together design a ritual or celebration especially for you and your loved ones. 


Because they are a gathering of elders, holding you in embrace.
Or corner posts in a square, forming your sturdy home.

Maybe the branches are shelter from storms within and without.
Or your beautiful sanctuary, a reminder of vitality and life evergreen.
Perhaps this circle of cone, sap, and seedlings brings you
the promise of seasonal renewal.
Whatever they are for you, the four pines invite you in,

wild and welcoming.
Come, sit awhile. 

Books and other writings

The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle

Fifteen of my prayer poems are included in this collection. Published 2020 by Pilgrim Press.

Swim Ride Run Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath.

A memoir about being in a body.  Published Spring 2015 by Pilgrim Press.


An essay included in There's a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor.   Published Spring 2015 by Skylight Paths Press.

I co-edited A Million Visions of Peace: Wisdom from the Friends of Old Turtle
Published in 1995 by Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers.

Sometimes I write Daily Devotionals for the United Church of Christ.   Since 2019, I've also written these mission moments for the UCC. 

You can find an essay I wrote online at Geez Magazine.

I wrote a column for a while called "Making Meaning" in The Southwest Community Connection newspaper in Portland, Oregon. You can see a few of those here and here

Descended from pastors and wanderers, in her twenties, Jennifer Ruth Lynn Garrison worked in a theater scene shop, at a folk record label, in a train museum, at a school library, as part of a cooperative grocery store and was (along with one other person), the Old Turtle Peace Tour, which traveled in a VW bug painted like a turtle to 48 states and talked with children about peace.


In her thirties, she received an MDiv at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry, and has served as pastor at churches in Seattle and the Portland Oregon metro area. In 2021, she received a grant from the Louisville Institute to research her work in progress, a book about Katherina Schutz Zell, a sixteenth century church reformer, writer, immigrant rights activist, marriage pioneer, reproductive rights & health care advocate and all around badass. 


Jennifer is a proud graduate of Still Harbors 2021-2022 Spiritual Direction Practicum.


The author of a memoir about running a triathlon as a non-athlete, most recently, Jennifer was published in the collection of prayers and poems The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle. You can also find her writing in the book of essays There's a Woman in the Pulpit, and in several of the Still Speaking Writers Group devotionals available through the United Church of Christ (UCC).  You can find her writing online at the ordained women's collective Revgalblogpals and the UCC's Daily Devotionals and Mission Moments (which she has been authoring since 2019). 


Jennifer says she prays "every day, but hardly ever the same way or at the same time." She SUPS, practices yoga and gardens with clumsy exuberance. She and her partner, Rev. Tara Wilkins, share a home with a herd of ridiculous animals and dote on their grown kids and their growing grandkids. 

Jennifer is an engaging preacher, speaker, wedding/celebration-of-life officiant, and retreat leader. 

Green Forest
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