Friday, October 19, 2007


It happened around the supper table at the University of Iowa. I was talking with Laura, a student who was there because she is interested in exploring where God is calling her to go next. Suddenly, as she told me about her parents and dreams, something clicked and I really SAW her. "O Laura," I said with surprise, "We know each other!" She said back, "You're Joy!"

Both of us had aged quite a bit since we saw each other last but Laura is the only child of very good friends of my parents. The kind of friends who come faithfully to the funeral of your grandparent, even if they haven't seen you for awhile before that. It was an incredible experience to be sitting face-to-face with someone and then suddenly, to recognize her as family.

I was very moved by this experience along the journey in Iowa, but maybe not so surprised now that I think about it. This is what happens in the family of God. Suddenly, as we listen, we come face-to-face with someone we know, we love, we recognize as family - and at the same time, we are fully known. And in the meal, we experience the body of Christ.

Giving thanks for witnesses along the way,
Pastor Joy

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Doubly blessed

ELCA Seminary Admissions Directors, Jonathan Strandjord (ELCA Vocation and Education Unit) and Paul Hanson (ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission)

In the autumn of each year, the seminary admissions directors gather for an annual meeting hosted by one of the seminaries of the ELCA. Why? So that we might work together as collaboratively as possible in connecting with pontential leaders of the church. Why? Because God calls us to this way and this work for the building up of the whole church. We don't work together because "we're such nice people" but because Jesus calls us to be one body.

What a blessing to be able to serve not only LSTC, a place of theological education, formation & community that I love, but to keep a bigger picture of the gift and diversity of seminary education in the ELCA in mind. I am doubly blessed.

This year, we met at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary - my first time in beautiful South Carolina! There was wisdom, struggle and laughter shared around that table. Now our group is divided into two--visiting Lutheran colleges and campus ministries in North Carolina and South Carolina. It's incredible to be a witness to the many and varied ministries happening throughout the church--Lutheran Social Services, the incredible work of campus pastors, religion faculty and all who serve in Lutheran colleges, not to mentioned some very gifted churchwide staff.

Tonight, we'll hear about the Young Adults in Global Mission program from Franklin Ishida. If you are a young adult or know a young adult who might consider a year of faithful, global service, please check this website:

And of course, if God is calling you to rostered leadership in the church (or simply to seminary), don't hesitatae to be in contact with me.

In thanks for God's bold call,
Pastor Joy