Katie Mueller: Called to ministry at age 8 and finally at seminary

Katie Mueller standing in a yard

The first thing Katherine (Katie) Mueller wants you to know about her is that she laughs a lot. She loves to dance and sing, eat good food in good company, walk and write. In her journalism writing prior to seminary, the column she wrote called “Up-Clothes and Personal,” about how people’s dress intersects with their identities, is her favorite.

Katie, whose undergraduate degree is in music and religious studies, is from Charleston, Ill. Her home congregation is Trinity Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wis.

Katie’s call to ministry came at age 8, but she cried when she found out her family’s conservative church wouldn’t ordain her.

“As a queer woman, I assumed I’d have to follow these feelings through other means. It wasn’t until I started to meet bad-ass ordained women throughout college that I realized the image I had of what a minister looked like was much too narrow. This quickly led to a surprising and terrifying realization that there might be room for me at seminary.”

The social justice she did throughout college with her home congregation helped her realize that the time to go to seminary was now, despite, and perhaps because of, the challenges our world currently faces.

LSTC’s emphasis on community and public church appealed to her, and seminary life so far has been joyful and challenging. Balancing classwork from her cozy apartment via Zoom is an adjustment, but she’s thankful for classmates who are on the same challenge course.

“I’m overjoyed to be surrounded by people who want to talk about faith and spirituality at a moment’s notice. Who knew I wasn’t the only one?”

She wants to cultivate strength within intergenerational religious communities, having worked with emerging adults who have felt abandoned, traumatized, or disenchanted by the church, but who want to engage in sacraments and ritual safely.

“I believe that music, storytelling and deep listening are powerful ways in which communities can work to find this healing,” she said.

“I also believe that God calls us to be in intentional relationship to the land and that healing our relationship to nature helps us to heal with each other. Environmental justice is social justice and is the work I’m passionate about doing.”

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