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Chelsea (Marsh) Achterberg

  • Columbia, SC
  • she/her/hers

Ministry setting

I recently graduated from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a Master of Divinity, and am currently working in the ministry area of chaplaincy.

What brings you joy in your ministry?

Being a millennial, one of the greatest joys in ministry is having peers, both those who have and have not grown up in the church, ask theological questions based on their casual (and often infrequent) trips to church or knowledge of the Bible.

Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?

I am not so secretly a huge fan of Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber. I have been greatly supported in my call by Chaplain (LTC) Joel Harris (US Army Ret), as a Baptist he has been a wonderful example of ecumenism that crosses theological lines. In seminary I have been blessed to be mentored by Rev. Dr. Shauna Hannan (now of PLTS) and Rev. Dr. MarySue Dreier.

What are your interests outside of ministry?

I love working out in all forms. Lifting, running, cycling, and just playing outside. I have run several full and half marathons and a triathlon.

Best meal you've ever eaten?

My grandparents own an old commercial Belgian waffle maker which combined with homemade blueberry and maple syrups is about the best breakfast anyone could ever ask for!

Brief bio

I was born and raised in Columbia, SC. I graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina (Charleston, SC) with a BA in Psychology in 2013. I began attending Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in the fall. I met my wife Mandy (also a Proclaim member) at LTSS. We were married in May 2015 and she graciously agreed to let me take her name after agreeing “Marsh-Achterberg” was too many characters to fit on a military name tag! We have a pet rabbit, Mosby, who teaches us a great deal about God’s grace and love. I commissioned in the Army as a Chaplain Candidate in July of 2015.

Did you always want to be clergy?

When I entered The Citadel I was studying electrical engineering and pursuing an active duty commission to the US Marine Corp. I eventually earned a national scholarship from the US Air Force. As I discerned a call to ministry I eventually gave up my scholarship and changed my major to psychology to prepare for seminary.

That discernment lead me to LTSS to pursue military chaplaincy with the US Army.

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