As a diaconal minister I am called to be the ELCA Wellness Coordinator. As a registered nurse, I initially worked in a hospital setting, and later as the Director of Nursing for several clinics, before taking the Parish Nurse Preparation course through Concordia Parish Nurse Center in Moorhead, MN. I longed for more theological training and I entered seminary uncertain of why, only convicted that I was to begin study the spring semester of 1996. After a few years of taking one class at a time, and beginning a new position at Martin Luther Manor as their Parish Nurse Coordinator, I met Doug Spiotta, who was a student at Luther Seminary, in process for the roster of diaconal ministry. He introduced me to the roster. Clarity, purpose and call came together for me, and I knew I was being called to diaconal ministry. I was being called to bridge the church and the world through the reclaiming of healing ministry within the church and to illumine how our faith and health/well-being are intertwined.
My journey has been an amazing one. There has been one transformation after another.
I began my second call in October, 2004, as the ELCA Wellness Coordinator. I am called to serve the greater church and work within the ELCA Board of Pensions and with the ELCA Vocation and Education unit. My role is to mentor, lead, support, inspire, and walk alongside the rostered leaders within our church. I am working with seminarians, bishops, conferences, Churchwide and within the ELCA Board of Pensions. The campaign "Healthy leaders Enhance Lives" has been about helping our leaders embrace wellness as multi-dimensional beings – that in baptism we are a new creation. We live that out as physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational and spiritual people. This call also includes helping our congregations to embrace wellness, so that individually and congregationally, they can be well and encourage and support our leaders to live well.
My journey has been an amazing one. There has been one transformation after another. It causes me to think about the Jeremiah text: the potter shaping the clay. I once was a shy, introvert who was trained to be a “fix it” person. I have grown and pray that I will continue to be open and to God’s leading and molding. My diaconal call is to be a bold witness, to empower, equip, and advocate for God's people to live out their baptismal identity, sharing their God-given gifts into the world. It is a continual challenge and, through God's leading and strength, all things are possible.