Pastors & Staff
At Gloria Dei, I have the gift of preaching and presiding, leading the staff and lay leadership in our many and varied ministries, keeping us connected with one another, and lifting up the vision that our gathered assembly so powerfully named in its mission statement. I’m always inspired by how God can work through any one of us, even with our challenges and hurts, including my own. I seek to be a gentle and humble servant of this assembly of saints.
I grew up in Ohio, attended Ohio University, received a graduate degree at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and did doctoral work at Emory University in pastoral care and liturgical studies. I’ve served at Calvary Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio, the Office of the Chapel and Religious Life, Emory University, and St. John’s Lutheran Church, Atlanta.
I live in Minneapolis and think both cities have great charm and am glad to call both home. My husband, Darin, also an ELCA pastor, serves as a chaplain in long-term senior care, and we love to spend time at home, cooking, savoring the outdoors, reading good books, taking walks and biking on all the great bike trails.
One of the things I love most about being a Lutheran Christian is that we proclaim we are saved by grace through faith. Because we are freed from the burden of having to save ourselves, we can focus our attention on the needs of our neighbor--not because we need to earn God's love, but simply because others need our care and support. When we recognize that our salvation is God's doing--an act of grace--we can turn our gaze outward and respond to the needs of the world, doing acts of mercy to alleviate pain and suffering, and working to transform systems and institutions that perpetuate injustice.
I am a native of Pine River, Minnesota, in the Brainerd Lakes Area. After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2006, I received a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 2009. I worked as a community organizer with OutFront Minnesota and the Minnesotans United campaign, before serving as the Interim Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force. I was ordained and installed at Gloria Dei in August 2014. I live in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood with my husband Oby Ballinger, who is also a pastor, our dog Ruthie, and two cats, Amos and Hosea.
I serve as Pastor of Faith Formation at Gloria Dei, encouraging spiritual and faith formation in people throughout the lifespan. I love to encourage people of all ages to grow in their understanding of how God is working in their lives, but am especially excited about the ways my work at Gloria Dei allows me to encourage adults in their faith development.
I was raised in the Midwest and went to seminary in Chicago. I was ordained in 1989, and have served two other congregations before coming to Gloria Dei in 1999. I’m married and have three children in their late teens and early adulthood. I love coffee, music, the Chicago Cubs, gardening, cooking, computer games, and my job at Gloria Dei. I work part-time, and am usually in the office on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.
I have the great joy of leading the music program at Gloria Dei, where we have wonderful participation in both our choirs and in congregational singing. We are also blessed with excellent instrumental talent, from kids to adults, and our worship is enhanced and enriched by all of these musical gifts. I am a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where I majored in church music and business administration and I hold a Master of Music degree from Indiana University School of Music in organ performance and church music. Besides my church position, I am also a freelance accompanist and regularly accompany Magnum Chorum, a Twin Cities based auditioned choir. I live in the Como Park neighborhood of St. Paul, where I enjoy gardening and entertaining and am always busy taking advantage of the outstanding musical and theater opportunities that the Twin Cities offers.
Learn more about Gloria Dei's Music Ministry.
I have the joy of partnering with families to nurture faith formation in children and families. It is a ministry that is fun and heart-warming and meaningful! I am a teacher by profession, and later continued my education to complete a Master Degree in Religious Education as well as Associate in Ministry from Luther Seminary, St. Paul. Christian education has been my passion since 1994, and I have served congregations in both Minnesota and Norway. I grew up in Chicago, lived in Norway for 16 years, and now have my home in Minnesota. I have two grown daughters, one who lives in Norway and the other in the Twin Cities. I enjoy time with family and friends, walking, reading, and travel.
Learn more about Gloria Dei's Children's Ministry.
Gloria Dei is a church family that embraces, includes, and welcomes all – especially our teens and families! I’m called to help lead a shared-ministry team of youth and adults who serve God and one another through special events, Confirmation ministry, retreats, mentoring, service-learning, community advocacy, and friendship-strengthening. We have teens in our ministry from over 54 local Twin Cities schools, so one of our goals is to find ways to connect everyone around a shared mission. It’s a joy! I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater and a Masters of Divinity from Bethel Seminary – both places of learning served me very well in the pursuits I now enjoy. My home is in South Minneapolis with Kelly and our two dogs, Romeo Oreo and Baxter – puppies from two different dog rescue organizations. In fact, “Pastor” Baxter accompanies me many days in the church office! Come say hi!
Learn more about Gloria Dei's Youth Ministry.
Parish Nursing is the melding of nursing and ministry. My goal is to promote wellness and healing of the body, mind and spirit by planning educational opportunities that promote an understanding of how lifestyle choices, attitudes, and faith relate to health and healing. I discuss health issues with members and make home, hospital, and nursing home visits. I work part-time and am usually here on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
I grew up in Little Falls, MN. I graduated in 1979 from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Nursing, and spent over 20 years working in the University Hospital System in various inpatient and outpatient settings. I live close by with my husband, two teenage sons and our two cats.
Learn more about Gloria Dei's Caring & Healing Ministries.
Event and Program Coordinators
Alleluia Children's Choir