Kyle Duff: ‘To be salt and light in the world’
Going to seminary isn’t new in Kyle’s family. His father went when Kyle was in kindergarten and when the family lived in Schaumburg, Ill. Kyle has lived in Illinois, Ohio and Indiana as part of a pastor’s family. And although there were suggestions along the way that he do the same, he resisted.
Kyle attended Valparaiso (Ind.) University, where he met his wife, Jeneal. She knew exactly what she wanted to do: become a physician’s assistant (PA). Kyle, on the other hand, started out with an exploratory major, but by the end of his first semester was a theology major.
After college, the couple moved to Virginia for Jeneal to attend PA school. He worked in several social service jobs, using skills from his theology and ministry degree. As he discerned his call, he worked at a residential treatment facility for youth with behavioral issues, then as a mental health case manager for a social service agency.
Kyle’s family is Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which means at Valpo he fine-tuned his critical thinking skills while determining what he believes. He landed on the fact that he was “still Lutheran” and wanted to attend seminary. But where? He also considered a Christian seminary in Indiana.
Public Church curriculum and the Public Church Fellows program became the draw to LSTC. It fit with the strong emphasis within him during college: “to do good as a church, to be salt and light in the world… This is the type of pastoral ministry I feel called to.” Chicago made sense, and LSTC felt like a good fit. Another plus was the possibility of taking additional classes through the ACTS consortium.
In his first year LSTC introductory bio, Kyle wrote about his passion for racial reconciliation. Awareness of his white male privilege which began back in his days at Walther Christian Academy in Melrose Park, Ill., has been a world view shift for him, and his ministry must include a wide segment of people. Kyle has been strongly influenced by Lutheran Lenny Duncan’s book, “Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US.”
Kyle’s home congregation is Bethel Lutheran Church, Winchester, VA.