Ever since she can remember, Jane Buckley-Farlee dreamed of being a pastor. But for many years, she was
told she could never be one because of her gender. In September, after more than 15 years of ministry at
Trinity Lutheran Congregation in Minneapolis, Buckley-Farlee received Luther Seminary’s annual Race, Church and Change Award in recognition of her continued commitment to congregational cultural transformation.
What started out as a personal journey to overcome institutional barriers in the church has since transformed into a metro-wide, interracial, multicultural ministry. As pastor to a church that worships in three languages and whose members’ cultural origins include America, Europe, Ethiopia, Eritrea and
Kenya, Buckley-Farlee embodies a ministry of diversity both at Trinity Lutheran Congregation and in the greater Cedar-Riverside area, Minneapolis’ most diverse neighborhood.
“This type of ministry involves a whole lot of letting go,” Buckley-Farlee said. “It requires constant listening and a willingness to let go of a preconceived anything.”
Buckley-Farlee’s most recent ministry at Trinity has led her to interfaith dialogue and collaboration with local Muslims. By connecting with imams at Dar Al-Hijrah and Dar Al-Quba, two prominent mosques in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, Buckley-Farlee is discovering companions in ministry. “The imams do the same stuff we pastors do—funerals, pastoral care, community-building activities,” Buckley-Farlee said.
Ultimately, Buckley-Farlee describes her ministry as one of patience, presence and persistence. “Interfaith work takes as much time as it does trust, but it is so worthwhile,” she said. “Ministry in a neighborhood like Cedar-Riverside is an incredibly slow process, and being present is what it is all about.”
Read about the connection between Trinity Luther and Luther Seminary.