Meet Our Pastor

                                                                               Pastor Violet & Kyle Johnicker

Bishop Sally Dyck and the Northern Illinois Cabinet are pleased to announce the appointment of Pastor Violet Johnicker to Brooke Road UMC effective June 1st for the following missional reasons:
*Relational leadership
*outgoing personality
*Good preacher
*Heart for community and church connections/ministries
*Social justice mindset

Violet Johnicker is honored and excited to be appointed to Brooke Road UMC and looks forward to meeting you!  Violet will be coming to Rockford from Chicago, where she is completing her Master of Divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary, an ecumenically diverse school with a student body that is predominantly people of color.  While in seminary, Violet is also studying at Adler University and will be graduating this summer with a Master of Public Policy degree, which she describes as the study of how we love our neighbors and take care of one another.  She has been involved with faith-based policy advocacy and social justice work ever since her undergraduate internship at the General Board of Church and Society, the United Methodist agency devoted to working for policies that live our faith, seek justice, and pursue peace.  She began her undergraduate studies in political science at George Washington University, later transferring to North Park University in Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management. 

Prior to attending graduate school, Violet served as Executive Director of Waukegan Main Street and later as Director of Downtown Kenosha Inc., two community and economic development nonprofits dedicated to neighborhood revitalization.  She holds certificates from the International Economic Development Council in strategic planning, finance programs, credit analysis, and business retention & expansion and is passionate about the role of churches in community development.   Most recently she has worked as a chaplain at Northwestern Hospital, administrator of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago, and as a teaching assistant during seminary. 

Violet grew up in church and discerned her call to ministry over time, feeling affirmed in church leadership and loving to write and preach sermons.  Today as she works toward ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church, Violet’s theology of radical inclusion centers on the belief that the teachings of Jesus and John Wesley continue to have new meaning in our current context, welcoming all people to God’s table and working to build the Kingdom together.  She is an advocate for LGBTQ affirmation in the United Methodist Church, believing that God places no limits on who God calls into ministry and marriage. 

Violet is proud to be involved in many programs of the Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC, including serving on the Accessibility Committee where she focuses on mental health awareness, the Annual Conference Worship Committee, and being a regular attendee at events in the Chicago Southern District.  Last year she served as Minister of Community Engagement while interning at Transformation Community United Methodist Church in Harvey, where she was able to learn about church revitalization from attending events sponsored by Black Methodists for Church Renewal.  She has also guest preached at many churches across the conference, including the community she is currently a member of, Urban Village Church in Chicago, where she has served as leader of the Evangelism team and the Faith in Action team, mobilizing people for social justice work. 

Violet, 32, is married to her best friend, Kyle Johnicker, 35.  In writing their marriage ceremony, they chose to create a new last name together just as many in scripture were blessed with new names when they began a new phase of life.  Kyle’s given last name was Johnson, and Violet’s given last name was Ricker, which they combined into Johnicker (pronounced John-ick-er).  Kyle’s dad is an elder in the United Methodist Church in Indiana, so Kyle is well-prepared for a life of ministry with Violet.  He was raised on pancake breakfasts with United Methodist Men’s groups and jokes that if he had a nickel for every church folding chair and table he’s moved, he’d be a very rich man.  Professionally, Kyle is a pharmacist and looks forward to finding a new job in the Rockford area.  In his free time, Kyle is an avid bowler, enjoys playing golf badly, watching movies, and playing video games.  He is not afraid to let his geek flag fly.  He likes sports and roots for teams from his home state (Pacers, Colts) and his alma mater, Butler University; although, he is excited to become a Rockford Icehogs fan!  Violet enjoys fishing and boating, playing guitar, baking bread, and especially loves reading - she looks forward to book recommendations from you!