From May 2011-August 2022, I served as the Pastor of Youth and Households for three ELCA (Lutheran) congregations in Chicago and led a multicultural, ecumenical youth group. I believe that God moves and works outside the Church walls, and I recently felt called to follow her there. In August, I began serving in ministry in a non-religious community setting: as the Campus and Community Resource Coordinator at National Louis University in downtown Chicago. There, I run the student food pantry, direct students who are facing financial insecurity to housing, food, and financial resources, and I run the Civic Engagement Center.

I am a pastor, a community organizer, and an advocate for youth and young adults.

I am actively working to address food and housing insecurity.

I love reading, biking, hiking in the mountains, and listening to live music.

I am bi+ and I am a queerly beloved child of God.

I am a bricolage.  

What exactly is a bricolage? Years ago, at a lectionary group, one of my fellow Chicago pastors told me that I was a denominational bricolage.  “Bricolage” is usually used to refer to artwork or some other form of creation, and it means: “something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available.”  

I believe God, who created us in God’s image, is an artist, constantly shaping us into amazing and interesting human beings and colliding us with multiple ministry opportunities so that we will ultimately share God’s love to our neighbors and recognize the image of God in the people we encounter in our daily routines.

I’m a graduate of a United Methodist seminary and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian (USA) denomination. I not only served three Lutheran (ELCA) congregations for 11 years, but I also served in Evangelical Covenant, American Baptist, and Congregational churches. I’m currently not working in a church setting at all.

I decided that instead of calling myself a “Presbaptutherist,” a bricolage was a much better fit.

I post many of my sermons, ministry resources, and other thoughts on faith, youth ministry, and justice work.  I was also a regular contributor for Conversations on the Fringe and for The Pastoral Is Political feature on RevGalBlogPals.


11 responses »

  1. Emily, that’s so interesting that you’re church experience has been so varied. I love that you’re a denominational bricolage. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve traveled around American Christendom a bit, but don’t identify at all with my earliest denomination. I can identify however with not neatly fitting into one denominational box. I was raised in one of those newer fundamentalist denominations (members usually referred to it as a “non-denominational denomination”). And, thankfully, eventually made my way to a PC (USA) church. Meeting a woman pastor for the first time was truly a live altering moment (but honestly even just the fact that the pastor quoted women sometimes from the pulpit was a huge change). And now, once in a while, I crash at a Lutheran church (ELCA) because the pastor is so encouraging and understanding, and because I think that may I have been Lutheran-ish to some degree all along.

    • Kelsey, it’s great to hear your story and how you and I are connected with both the PC(USA) and the ELCA! So glad you could find a few church communities that both acknowledge and affirm women leadership. You could also say you are in some ways a denominational bricolage. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A Bricolage…huh well I would think of myself as a evangelical however as the term was understood in a historical sense and not as it is use more in a cultural way today. A Bricolage something to think about thank you for shareing.

  3. Emily….you said “As a graduate of a United Methodist seminary,”…which one? Yeah, love the glasses. ๐Ÿ™‚

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