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Rev. Cary Bass-DeschĂȘnes

Ministry setting

Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross

What brings you joy in your ministry?

Helping to bring knowledge and understanding of God's unconditional grace to people and watching them change through God's direct activity.

Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?

I am inspired by many people, particularly those that work with marginalized, that put great effort into bringing the peace of Christ to those that don't find it easily, the poor, homeless, drug-addicted and imprisoned. I am particularly inspired by the work of San Quentin chaplain Father George Williams.

What are your interests outside of ministry?

I like traveling and nature, particularly mountains and hiking. I've recently begun to learn to ski, which I completely enjoy.

Best meal you've ever eaten?

I am not a big "favorites" person. I remember my most recent meals best. So that I had Ethiopian cuisine last night, which right now is the best meal I've ever eaten as far as I can remember.

Brief bio

I hail from South Carolina, of a mother with good German stock, which is where my Lutheran identity was formed. As early as my teenage years I felt the call to ministry, but it wasn't until the age of 43 that I entered PLTS within one year after the ELCA Churchwide decision. I graduated in 2014. I live in Oakland with my husband Michael.

Did you always want to be clergy?

While I was involved in church choir and youth group at St. Luke's Lutheran in Columbia, I felt the call to ministry, but my adolescent hormones were telling me that my physical desires were entirely incompatible with a vocation as Pastor. I spent several decades in "the wilderness", seeking a spiritual home. At that time I was centered in my 12-step program and involvement with volunteering in jails. Then I met my current spouse, who had strong ties to his faith. We explored church together when my career brought me to San Francisco, and I felt the call once more.

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