Story Magazine

Spring/Summer, 2010

Sandy Rothschiller Focuses on Spiritual and Financial Wellness

by Tracy Behrendt, Correspondent

As the Region 3 outreach coordinator for the ELCA Board of Pensions, Sandy Rothschiller knows she has her work cut out for her.

"For 17 years, I'd get this stuff in the mail from the Board of Pensions, and I would say, 'I can't look at that. It's too confusing,'" she said. "Now I'm out trying to teach people like me that it's not that hard."

For those 17 years, Rothschiller, '90, served as a parish pastor. But in 2007, she was ready for a change. Rothschiller now educates members in Minnesota and the Dakotas about benefits available through the Board of Pensions. Both her experiences in seminary and as a pastor have assisted her in her new role, making her appreciate the benefits the ELCA offers.

"Our bundled benefit structure means that when pastors interview for calls, they never have to negotiate benefits," she said. "So, when I was in North Dakota, I had the same benefits as in Minnesota. If all of a sudden pastors were negotiating benefits, their calls would be about benefits, not about a call from God."

Rothschiller is especially passionate about church leaders' spiritual wellness. Since social, physical and emotional wellness affect spiritual wellness, she notes that pastors must remain healthy to lead their congregations. A recent partnership with Mayo Clinic has aimed to improve members' health, and, in just three years, Rothschiller has already seen great changes.

"We are working toward getting healthier," she said. "Sixty percent of people who took the Mayo clinic health assessment last year had emotional or mental well-being issues. That's dramatic. Yet there are so many things people are starting to do after that assessment. It's making the difference, and it's fun to see."

Sandy Rothschiller answers questions during an educational event at Luther Seminary.