After 30 years on the local airwaves, the person we know as Kim Jeffries (now Kim Ketola) is alive and well, living in Atlanta and developing a burgeoning ministry.

"It's kind of ironic," she admitted. "I dropped out of college to go into radio. Then I ended up dropping out of radio to go back to college to get a degree in ministry."

Ketola is best known for her stints on KS95 and WCCO Radio, but it was a two-minute weekly spot on lower-profile Christian talk station KTIS that turned her on to a new career. When she was 23, she'd had an abortion, a decision that still haunted her. For KTIS, she created a segment called "Life Redeemed" that reached out to people in similar circumstances.

"A lot of these women felt that they were keeping a secret, and that made them feel isolated," she said. "Many of them didn't know that they could go to their church for help, because they felt that having had an abortion made them an enemy of the church."

Ketola, a Lutheran, said that despite having the best intentions, some ministers don't know how to counsel people who are wrestling with the residual angst that can come from an abortion.

"There's a grief experience involved, and I think that's something we have to get churches to connect with," she said. "Churches also need to wake up to the fact that this is not just a women's issue. A lot of men feel guilty, too. Characterizing this as a women's issue makes them feel marginalized and angry at being shut out of the process."

It's hard to estimate the extent of the situation, she said.

"There's a huge underground need that is difficult to quantify," she said. "Because so many abortions are paid for outside the insurance network, exact numbers are hard to get, but the best estimate is that there are at least 25 million women who've had an abortion. Planned Parenthood estimates that 10 percent of them suffer extreme emotional distress. That means that there are 2 million women out there who need help."

Ketola, 55, has created a ministry called Tell Them I Love Them. Under its auspices, she travels the country, lecturing and counseling. She has become a regular speaker at both the Ruth Graham and Friends and Set Apart conferences. She's on the "third or fourth rewrite" of a book with the working title "Our Secrets Laid Bare," and, of course, has a website: www.kimketola.com.

"I've been blessed with two children and two stepchildren," she said. "But at times, I still feel sad about the child I didn't have. He would have been 32 this year. I believe he's watching me from heaven."

Spinning a new web

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis spiffed up its website over the holidays. There was no problem with the last version. It was functional, but it also looked, for lack of a better term, functional.

The remake, which was introduced sans fanfare on New Year's Day, combines user friendliness with more visual pizazz. The icons linking to pages within the website are bigger and are anchored by images, rather than the previous version's text links. It also offers multiple avenues to find information. For instance, the home page includes three links to the directory of parishes: icon, drop-down menu and text link. (Actually, there are four if you count the "links" link that takes you to a menu of all the site's connections.)

The Internet address stayed the same: www.archspm.org. The archdiocese is looking for feedback. There are multiple links for that, too.

Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392