Meet a Member of Our Standing Committee: Alyssa Tennison

Alyssa Tennison

Brothers and Sisters,

I’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Tennison, who serves as one of three laity on our Diocese’s Standing Committee. Alyssa and her husband, Justin, have faithfully served at Church of the Cross for over 16 years. She’s a woman of great faith, discernment, and prayer who has been an incredible gift to both her local church and our Diocese. I think you’ll enjoy this interview and getting to know her a little better.

– Bp. Stewart E. Ruch III

Interview by Bonnie McMaken, Editor of Leaders’ Latest

Alyssa, you’ve been at Church of the Cross for 16 years—that’s amazing! Tell us a bit about your faith journey and how Anglicanism deepened your faith.
As a child, I eagerly responded to the gospel and loved to share it with friends. I’m very thankful that my parents put me in environments that taught me to study, memorize, and love Scripture.

The layered richness of Anglican worship continues to bless me, and I especially appreciate simply coming empty handed to the table each week to “feed on him in your heart, by faith and with thanksgiving.”

You’ve been an integral part of the Bishop’s Council and now serve on our Standing Committee. What do you enjoy most, and what strengths do you bring to that team?
In the winter of 2022, I heard the Lord say, “Use your voice.” He continued to impress this upon my heart but I was still unclear. I almost dropped the phone when Father Christian Ruch called me that spring about the Bishop’s Council.

I resonated with Moses, who felt inadequate to speak, but the Lord called me to trust his strength in my weakness. I aim to bathe my words in prayer and speak from that posture. It’s also really important to me to listen to those in my community so that I can “stand” in their place with understanding.

Tell us about your family and four kids. How did you and your husband meet and decide to raise a family in the Twin Cities?

I met my husband at high school in Fargo, ND, and we started dating in college. His job moved us to the Twin Cities, which allowed us to be close to family and our beloved lake country. Our children (ages 8-15) are all very active, so we spend a lot of time in the car, but we prioritize dinner together whenever possible.

What are some ways your kids have flourished by being rooted in Christ’s church?
So many ways: baptisms, receiving the Eucharist, worshiping alongside a community who has watched them grow up, and now Confirmation and serving for my older two (one of those Confirmations pictured here).

As a family, we’ve also invested in a friendship with a single mother and her four year-old son through Together for Good, a local ministry that Church of the Cross partners with. They’ve become like an extended part of our family.

I imagine other women are inspired to see you mothering both your family and the broader Church through your gifts. What’s one nugget of experience or wisdom you would give to moms who feel called to ministry in both of those spheres?
Together we are created to offer our maternal and feminine sensitivity and voice uniquely to wherever God has called us to serve the Church. As we abide in the vine, he will do the rest! Let us “live and move and have our being” in Christ and “keep in step with the Spirit” (Acts 17:28; Gal 5:25).

Crucifer at Revive, Oct ’23

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love learning about history, so some key ones would be Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Who is one author you love and why?
Too many to choose! Discussing books is one of my very favorite topics. Currently, I am enjoying Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson.