Ministry in Context

Welcome, Katherine!

I'm Katherine Parent and I am excited to join the Contextual Learning office as the Cross-Cultural Education Support Staff. This year, I'll be helping plan and coordinate the "Pray and Break Bread" program, in which groups of Luther students, staff, and faculty will meet their neighbors at sites around the Twin Cities. 

The question, “Where are you from?” usually makes me pause, because I’m a "TCK": a third-culture kid.  My Midwestern family moved to the South and later to the West Coast. As a teenager, I lived above the Arctic Circle for a year and learned fluent Norwegian. After graduating from St. Olaf in 2009, I went back to Norway to learn from Christian friends who saw seeking justice as an inseparable part of Christian vocation. I spent several years as a resident alien there, earning an MA in Intercultural Communications.

While the intellectual fellowship and challenge of the seminary classroom has been deeply meaningful, it is the experiences of meeting others in community that have been the most transformative for my faith and life. This is why I am so glad to join the Contextual Learning team as we continue to seek ways to connect students with their neighbors in the community and foster cross-cultural relationships and reflection.

As my Norwegian friends explored what it meant to be neighbors and followers of Jesus in a “skjev” (crooked) world, I began to realize how little I really knew my neighbors in my home country. I was moved to come back to the US and learn from others who were trying to build on the Rev. Dr. King’s vision of “beloved community” among all people.

Now, I’m a Luther seminary PhD student who spends much of my time in the streets of North Minneapolis. As Artist-In-Residence at Redeemer Lutheran Church, I’m learning by meeting my neighbors as we paint murals on empty houses, make jewelry out of bike parts, and discover our own creativity. I love to meet new people and share stories. On the Northside, I’ve seen how music, art and good food can bring neighbors and strangers together—transformation ensues.

While the intellectual fellowship and challenge of the seminary classroom has been deeply meaningful, it is the experiences of meeting others in community that have been the most transformative for my faith and life. This is why I am so glad to join the Contextual Learning team as we continue to seek ways to connect students with their neighbors in the community and foster cross-cultural relationships and reflection.

Look for an article next month about our upcoming cross-cultural gatherings and how you can be involved. I will look forward to meeting you as the year progresses!

Peace in Christ,

Katherine Parent
kparent001ce@luthersem.edu

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