The Rev. Trina Zelle called to serve as the new National Organizer for the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA)

May 2, 2011

The Rev. Trina Zelle

The Rev. Trina Zelle


The Rev. Trina Zelle has accepted the newly-formed position of National Organizer for the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA), a ministry of Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry, General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rev. Zelle writes, “I am excited at the prospect of collaboration with experienced and committed leadership in strengthening and expanding this incredible organization.”

Ordained in 1980 by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Rev. Trina Zelle has served congregations in Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii, Texas, and Arizona. She also worked for ten years as a community organizer in partnership with immigrant women living along the Texas/New Mexico/Mexico border.  Together they established a day care business, a community center, and Cristo Rey Outreach, a nonprofit organization that continues to provide technical assistance to grassroots groups along the border. Since 2006 she has served as founding director of Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice, Arizona’s only worker rights center.

Serving as a clergy commissioner to the 219th (2010) General Assembly, Rev. Zelle is familiar with the current hopes and challenges of the denomination. She has also been a long-time friend of PHEWA, having served as the featured preacher for the 2003 PHEWA Biennial Conference, bringing the message “God is About to Do a New Thing.” Rev. Zelle looks forward to being PHEWA’s new Lead Organizer: “I see PHEWA and its networks continuing to transform the lives of individuals and communities through work that is collaborative, respectful, and creative.  I see a flexible organization capable of responding to what will surely be an ever-changing landscape of need.”

Rev. Zelle graduated from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and received her Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  She lives with her clergy spouse (Rev. Philip Reller, UCC) in Tempe, AZ.  They have four grown children.

While PHEWA is a ministry of the Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry, GAMC, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), it is also a 501(c) 3 membership organization serving the entire church.  This new PHEWA Lead Organizer position is entirely funded by PHEWA, with the PHEWA Board of Directors serving as employer.   Gifts to sustain this crucial position into the future may be sent to the PHEWA office or you may give online.

  1. I find Trina very approachable and willing to assist in the area of serious mental illness especially. I am grateful for her attention to my concerns. I know she will lead with compassion, courage, direction and dedication.

    by Janet Martin

    September 8, 2011

  2. As a friend and a clergy woman I am very pleased and excited about Trina Zelle being a leader for PHEWA. She will be outstanding in this job, and I think it fits her to a T. Way to go Trina, and blessings for you and your family as you begin this new mission.

    by Rev. Mae Hicks

    June 10, 2011

  3. This is such good news!! Welcome Trina. PHEWA lives on!

    by Mary Kuhns

    May 4, 2011

  4. The Presbyterian Health Network welcomes Rev. Zelle! We are excited about offering ministry with her! What a great new member of the PHEWA family!

    by Rev. Donna B. Coffman, RN

    May 4, 2011

  5. As a member of the Executive Team of PHEWA I am very pleased that Trina Zelle has agreed to serve as the Lead Organizer at this important time in the life of the PCUSA and the nation. She is a skilled leader and the PHEWA Board and Network Leaders are committed to work with her toward a more just nation and church.

    by Doug Mitchell

    May 4, 2011