LSTC Graduate Spotlight 2023

Headshot of Kelsey Louise Johnson

Kelsey L. Johnson


What is your favorite memory of your time at LSTC?

It was an honor to serve on chapel staff as an academic senior. I enjoyed and was energized by working with the seminary community to shape liturgies that were relevant, healing, and grace-centered. Because of this, I gained a deeper understanding of liturgical tradition and confidence in my leadership of all aspects of worship planning and preparation even before I went on internship.

What was the most meaningful class you took?

I appreciated that LSTC’s curriculum offered a variety of classes that will be useful for my future. Each class offered a different lens that widened and enriched my “starting off point” entering first call. LSTC professors facilitated, for me, a lifelong commitment to learning and continual theologizing I carry into ministry. Above any contents in a single course, professors encouraged me to think, ask questions, reach outward into ecumenical and pluralistic community, and take seriously the call to the gospel and its relevance as well as the grace and hope it offers to the world today.

How did you feel supported during your seminary journey? Were you the recipient of any major scholarships? What communities or people uplifted you during your studies?

I am incredibly grateful to have received a full visionary leaders/presidential scholarship. This made seminary education viable without incurring an unreasonable amount of debt. Having institutional support helped me feel connected to the community, supported me in taking the leap of seminary education, as well as affirmed my call to leadership in the ELCA.  

I am thankful to Midvale Community Lutheran in Madison Wisconsin for continued support throughout my seminary education. I am grateful, as well, to Calvary Lutheran in Ruskin Florida for forming my faith from a young age and supporting me in my discernment of a call to ministry in the years leading up to seminary. The community at St Luke’s in Logan Square supported me through a very unique contextual education experience during the height of the pandemic. Mt Sinai Hospital department of pastoral care invited me to serve as a volunteer chaplain for over a year in the height of the pandemic, which taught me a strong foundation of pastoral care, to say the least. Redeemer Lutheran in Hinsdale shepherded and mentored me throughout internship, enriching my understanding of parish leadership in ways I’ll surely carry long into the future. 

What are your post-graduation plans?

I am actively seeking a call to ministry of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA.

How did LSTC shape you as a future leader of the public church?

Seminary over the last 4 years uniquely gave me perspective on the rapidly changing church and the realities I will likely encounter again: a global health crisis, the role of technology in the way we worship and gather, a building transition as well as the larger question of what our relationship to physical space as church is, and discernment about how we steward our resources in times such as these. Being Public church is to discern where the gospel is speaking to us today, as community not only in the sense of our own physical walls and members, and how we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this emerging present and into the future.

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