Tell us a little about your background and what you’ve been up to since graduating from WTS:
I grew up in Ogden, Iowa as part of a farming family. My grandparents all lived close by and instilled in me the unconditional love of God along with a tremendous appreciation for the gift of God’s creation. To this day, I love to garden, go for slow drives on gravel roads, search for agates, and cheer for the Hawkeyes! My mom was, and still is, one of the organists for my home congregation, so from an early age I experienced the power of music and the joy of feeling at home in the church. I fell in love with northeastern Iowa when I stepped onto the Luther College campus as a prospective student. In that beloved community, I first experienced a call to ministry. That call led me to Wartburg Theological Seminary, where I again stood in awe of the gift of life in community. My first call was to a two-point parish in Adams, North Dakota, where the generosity of the people and the vast mystery of the plains shaped my imagination. After five years there, I returned to Iowa along with my spouse, Doug, and our two children. I served as an associate pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in West Union, where our third son was baptized on Easter Sunday 2010. Since 2012, I have been serving alongside the people of Glenwood and Canoe Ridge Lutheran Churches, rural Decorah, Iowa, as together we’ve held lament and hope in hearts and hands shaped by the love of God in Christ Jesus. As I return now to Wartburg, I give thanks to God for calling us all, in the words of the familiar prayer, “to ventures of which we cannot see the ending.”
President Largen and Wartburg are very committed to the Contextual Learning program. How are you excited about advancing the program for Wartburg?
On my own journey to becoming a rostered minister, especially having grown up in a church that still does not permit the ordination of women, I could not imagine myself as a pastor until I was actually serving as an intern. My internship congregation, along with my supervisors, gave me an opportunity not only to put classroom learning to work in a particular context, but also to live into this surprising calling. We follow a God who makes all things new. Standing on the firm foundation of Christ’s faithfulness, and building on the attentive, thoughtful work of those who’ve gone before us, we can learn and dream and risk–together–for the sake of the gospel. How might God be calling us to change and grow as we work together to form leaders for this changing church? When the challenges before us are so complex, what does courageous, wise, wholehearted leadership look like? I am excited to listen deeply to the wisdom of current and former students, supervisors, professors, participating contextual education sites, and synodical partners as we discern, together, where God is leading. In the years since I graduated from Wartburg, so many exciting changes have been made out of faithfulness to God’s call. How might we continue to advocate for and strengthen the deacon roster? How might the Collaborative Learning Program continue to grow and evolve? Might we explore questions around contemplative leadership and the gift of spiritual practices in the formation not only of leaders in the church, but of all God’s people? What is needed today, and tomorrow, in the life of the larger church and in the life of a weary world desperate for good news? I am so eager to explore these questions with you.
What is one thing the Wartburg Community should know about you?
I’d like you to know my heart, mind, and office door are open! I am so looking forward to meeting you and learning your story. God’s peace be with you!