Gregg L.J. Hemmen was born on July 10, 1964 and lived the first 25 years of his life in and around Steamboat Rock, Iowa. Most of you have probably not heard of Steamboat Rock as it only boasts about 355 residents but it has some of the best swimming holes in the Iowa River and the area can grow some of the best sweet corn you have ever tasted. Gregg's high school graduating class had 15 people. So, at the very least Gregg can say he was in the top 15 of his graduating class. After high school, Gregg planned on farming in central Iowa for the rest of his life. He enrolled in Ellsworth Community College and received an A.A.S. in Farm Operations and Management. But the more he became involved in his local church, the more he was drawn to serving a church in a more focused way. Gregg quit farming and went back to school in 1989 at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There he received a bachelor's in Religious Studies. From there he enrolled at North American Baptist Seminary where he received a Master of Divinity (the normal preacher's degree) and a Master of Arts in Counseling. While in Sioux Falls, Gregg met Diane. They dated for 4 years and were married on May 7, 1994. Gregg has continued to try to hone his skills as a pastor. He completed doctoral work in 2001 through Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. Gregg was the pastor of Cane Creek Baptist Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina from 1994-2007.
Gregg's wife, Diane, has served as Associate Pastor for Youth and Congregational Life at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. Yes, they are a blended-faith family (Baptist and Presbyterian) but they serve and work for the same God. Diane currently serves as the pastor of the Hermosa United Church of Christ, she is on staff at First Presbyterian Church in Rapid City, and she also is a part time chaplain at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
Gregg and Diane are the proud parents of Ainslee and Eli. Ainslee is on a local swim team and plays cello in the school orchestra. Eli plays football and is an inventor. The fifth member of their family is Chumlee Ebenezer. He's a 90-pound chocolate lab with big needs for affection.