In June 2010, Luther seminary doctor of ministry Graduate Betsy Miller, ’10, made history by Being elected the first female president of the Provincial elders’ conference of the Moravian Church Northern Province. She says, “It has been a profound privilege to serve God and the Moravian Church in this capacity.” Her call in this leadership role has been full of the joys and challenges of doing God’s work in the world. “Perhaps the most rewarding part of this call is shaping the conversations about what God is up to in our local congregations and through the work we do together as a province,” she says. “I find joy in listening to stories of God’s work; the challenge is the need to keep reminding people that it is God’s mission, not ours.”
The Moravian church has wrestled with profound questions of being church in a changing world during Miller’s time as president. “The Moravian Church is living out a new imagination of being church together by a deliberate effort to start faith communities that do not look like church,” Miller explains, “such as a coffee shop where faith conversations happen every day, a café that blends Eucharist with healthy foods and a ‘pay-what-you-can’ model and a congregation that sold its building to move downtown to provide adult day services to the community. Time will tell how these incarnations of church will bless the world.”
Miller credits her Luther Seminary education for preparing her for this leadership position. “The D.Min. from Luther serves me through the language of the Missio Dei,” she says. “Thanks to the study and formation of my time at Luther, I have been able to influence the prevailing narrative of the province. I see congregations turning outward toward their neighborhoods, not with the primary goal of getting new members, but rather with the mission of partnering with God to be Good News among people in the community. This is a profound—and ongoing—shift and is a source of joy and hope.”
To read about how Betsy Miller’s education helped her lead, visit www.luthersem.edu/story/betsy06. You can read about her historic appointment within the Moravian Church at www.luthersem.edu/story/betsy11.