On February 18, 2001 Craig Minich was ordained as Pastor of Youth Ministries for the then named Oakland-Berkeley Lutheran Youth Program (OBLYP). Pastor Minich was called by three Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations — St. Paul Lutheran, Oakland, United Lutheran, Oakland, and University Lutheran Chapel, Berkeley. Pr. Minich is a 1999 graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley, California. Pr. Minich established OBLYP in September of 1999 and served as a lay director until his ordination.
In 2005, with the joining of Trinity Lutheran Church in Alameda, a name change was necessitated,we changed the name to East Bay Lutheran Youth Program (EBLYP). This ministry celebrated its 10th anniversary and serves five congregations in Oakland and Alameda in the Bay Area (Resurrection Lutheran, St. Paul Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran in Oakland, Trinity Lutheran in Alameda, and United Lutheran) and provides opportunities for children from toddler through college age.
Pr. Craig, or PC as he is known by his youth, is also adult chair of the Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee. He was elected in 2007 and before that served on the committee for 6 years over terms as an adult representative for District C and the assistant to the chair. This youth-led, adult-guided team plans and puts on 4 youth retreats in the Sierra Pacific Synod (SPS) each year. The SPS is, geographically speaking, a vast synod and takes much effort to pull together. He and the youth are dedicated to engaging the youth across the synod and to helping create community in places where Lutherans merely dot the map. “We are spread out, but when we gather, we have a loud voice!”
On the day of his ordination, PC was interviewed by a local news station. On that day he said:
“I have always felt an affinity for teaching and working with kids. We have a strong emphasis on Christian education, building relationships, service and fun!” He goes on, “I have been called to be pastor of Youth Ministries by three strong justice-minded congregations who believe that God’s love is more powerful than outdated church law which is discriminatory and degrading to gay people. The gospel calls us to be whole people and to live with integrity.”
Highlights of PC’s ministry include:
1.Uniting youth from disparate ethnicity’s, social, and economic realities into a unified group.
2.Leading youth in a variety of local service projects to help youth get invested in their communities and to see the wide-ranging realities of people living there.
3. Leading youth to get outside their communities by traveling to synodical, regional and international spiritual development retreats.
4. Leading youth to experience the larger world around them. PC has led groups to Tijuana, Mexico; South Africa; El Salvador; and Rwanda.
Craig was born and raised in Land O’ Lakes, FL (near Tampa). Raised outside the church, he attended Lenior-Rhyne College and was an adult convert to Lutheran Christianity. He was baptized on April 15th, 1993 at a campus ministry service just one month prior to his graduation. After graduation, Craig worked as a camp counselor at Lutheridge summer camp in Arden, NC and went through confirmation of sorts with his campers each week that summer.
He began to feel the call to ministry by the end of that summer and worked again at Lutheridge the following summer. He entered PLTS the following fall. He came out to himself as a gay man his second year at PLTS and thrived as he reconciled his sexuality with his call. He lives with his partner Bruce in San Carlos and loves snow-boarding, supporting the San Jose Earthquakes MLS soccer team, going to theater and concerts, and playing the video game, Rock Band.
Rev. Craig Minich was received onto the ELCA clergy roster in 2010.