Our Team Members
Most of us have had an abortion experience and all of us have attended a retreat for our own healing before joining the team. We have regular meetings for friendship and training. In addition, many of us have attended regional or national training conferences offered by Dr. Theresa Burke, Rachel’s Vineyard’s founder.
Founder, Ministry Operations Leader
Nancy Blom co-founded the Twin Cities site of Rachel’s Vineyard and led the ministry since the early days. She’s attended national RV conferences in Louisiana and Pennsylvania, as well as regional conferences in Minnesota and North Dakota. Nancy is a mentor and trainer for new site leaders and has helped to establish new Rachel’s Vineyard sites in AZ, IL, MN, MO, NJ, WI, Canada, Russia, and a Spanish speaking team for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. She also works part time for a manufacturing company. In her free time Nancy enjoys technology, card making, beading, and container gardening. She’s a 1990 convert to the Catholic faith, a Secular Carmelite, and lives with 2 of the world’s most adorable kitties.
One of the most profound, life changing events Jean has experienced was attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. During the retreat she encountered Love and Mercy in a way not experienced before—the Love and Mercy of Christ and the love and mercy of the team. Jesus came to heal, forgive, set captives free, restore, and make whole what has been broken, and she assures you this happens on every retreat. She encourages men, women, grandparents, siblings, and anyone who has experienced an abortion and desires healing to come to a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. Jean has served on the team since 2002, been past President and Board member of Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities, established a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in Tucson, AZ, and attended national Conferences. She retired as Executive Director of a crisis pregnancy center in Tucson, Arizona when her family moved back to the Twin Cities. She converted to the Catholic Church in 2004. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, praying, walking and reading.
Sylvia attended her first retreat in April of 2003, 30 years after her abortion. She was able to grieve the loss of her child for the first time and rejoice that her little girl is safe in the arms of Jesus. Sylvia has been a member of the RVTC team ever since. She has attended a national RV conference as well as regional and local team training. Sylvia is a retired Special Education teacher who loves spending time with her three young grandchildren, biking, relaxing at the cabin with her family and hiking in the mountains of Arizona in the winter sunshine.
Lisa was born and raised Catholic, but like many young adults was away from her faith for many years. After returning the church in 2004, she learned about Rachel’s Vineyard and attended a retreat in August 2008, where she met her children Richard and Faith. Lisa joined the RVTC team in January 2009 and has been active in many areas of Rachel’s ever since. She’s also very active in her church and keeps finding more areas to serve there. She has worked in the accounting field for over 30 years and loves to spend time with her darling nephews and her energetic cat. She misses her 2 beloved Labs.
Fay attended her first retreat in 2009, 35 years after her abortion. After experiencing her own healing and witnessing the miraculous healing of others, she wanted to be part of the team and joined in 2012. In her career, she is a reading specialist. Fay is married with 2 children and enjoys walking, boating, and fishing.
Derek’s professional background is in clinical social work but is presently studying as a seminarian at the Saint Paul Seminary. He serves in the role as counselor with Rachel’s Vineyard but also assists in whatever ways needed. Derek learned about Rachel’s Vineyard after prayerfully seeking a new way to serve, after his first retreat he found deep healing from situations in his own life where issues of abortion had affected him both professionally and personally. Derek’s interests include faith formation, serving a local mental illness advocacy group, spending time with friends and family, and making trips to the family cabin.
“Perhaps the most important thing for me to share here is that I am twice post-abortive… and that, through the very circumstances of my abortions, I have overwhelmingly encountered and been healed by the ever pursuing Mercy of God. As a team member, I have the joy of assisting others to find that same Mercy. I am, by gift, a catechist. I have taught at most every level, and have had the privilege of getting my Masters in Catholic Theology through Ave Maria University’s Institute of Pastoral Theology. I am also a pastoral leader of a charismatic prayer community. Before converting to the Catholic Faith, I had been in various parts of the denominational world, in a Buddhist monastery, and, lastly, in the Pentecostal Church. As a very young woman, I received a Masters in Physics. But I am careful to say that, in all of that study, I was simply seeking God and that the smartest thing I ever did was to give my life to Jesus. In order to pay the bills and have something to give away, I’ve taught mathematics at a University and elementary school, had a violin-repair business, was a nanny for a large family, a computer programmer, a secretary, and a benefits and payroll specialist.”
Leah is a singer-songwriter and Catholic revert who loves to share God’s message of love and mercy through song. She experienced the “gift of tears” shortly after her sister’s passing in 2015 and was led by the Holy Spirit to confession, followed by her first RV retreat in 2016. It was there that she was blessed with much healing and forgiveness for her abortion which had been kept secret since 2010. She now serves as a team member and openly shares her story because she knows firsthand of the many tremendous graces God so eagerly wants to shower each and every one of us with. In addition to music, Leah loves spending time with friends and family, cooking, playing volleyball and basketball, horseback riding and dancing. Of all life’s glorious adventures, her greatest adventure has been witnessing and partaking in God’s ever abundant love for us as we journey on as His faithful followers in our call to sainthood.
Sandy is a retired physician and became a convert to the Catholic faith. During RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) in 2019, she was invited by the director of faith formation to attend the movie, Unplanned. She contacted the phone number listed at the end of the movie, was led to Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities, and attended a retreat 2 months later. She had harbored shame, guilt, and anger due to having two abortions 50 years prior. At the retreat she received the precious grace and forgiveness of God. The retreat was life changing for her and her family. A year later she became a Rachel’s Vineyard team member and has joyfully volunteered on several retreats. She considers it an honor and a privilege to help retreatants move through their anguish and be embraced by the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. She is married and lives in the Twin Cities. She is an active lector and sacristan in her parish and enjoys pickleball, bicycling and singing worship songs.
Deacon Dennis Chlebeck
Deacon Dennis served on the board from July 2020 to December 2021. He recently retired after over 40 years as a mental health therapist, primarily working in corrections. The first 15 years, he worked for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd with abused adolescent girls. He retired in 2016, having spent the last 15 years working with adult male felons for the MN Department of Corrections at Stillwater prison.
In 2009, Dennis was ordained a deacon for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul/Minneapolis and assigned to the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in St. Paul and as the Catholic chaplain for the Episcopal Homes in St. Paul. He is the spiritual advisor for the St. Paul Deanery of the Council of Catholic Women and has also served as a chaplain on several Rachel’s Vineyard retreats.
Deacon has been married to his lovely wife, Annemarie, for 47 years and they raised five children in St. Paul. They have four sons, one daughter and ten grandchildren. Their oldest son and youngest daughter are adopted and have special needs. Over the years, they have enjoyed camping all over the U.S. and still love to travel around our great nation and abroad.