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Rev. Joel Bergeland

  • Plymouth, MN
  • he/him/his

Ministry setting

Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth

What brings you joy in your ministry?

I like singing and praying and praising God with other people. I like when I'm wrong because reality has turned out to be better or at least more complex than I had imagined it to be. And I like moments when we get glimpses of God's reign among us.

Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?

Rev. Heidi Neumark, the new monastics, Holden Village, Bonhoeffer, and Luther. And also my mom, dad, two younger brothers, and friends.

What are your interests outside of ministry?

Biking, gardening, brewing beer

Best meal you've ever eaten?

When I was a camp counselor in Montana I took a group of high schoolers backpacking in the mountains. We were lucky, because we went the week that the huckleberries were at peak ripeness. (For those of you who don't know, a huckleberry is like a blueberry that has made a trip to heaven and come back to earth.) We picked liters of them, and then put them in our biscuits we made on our camp stove and ate them while overlooking a mountain lake and a setting sun.

Brief bio

I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and went to St. Olaf College in Northfeld, MN, graduating in 2008 with majors in Religion and Political Science (the two things you weren't supposed to talk about at the dinner table!). I lived and worked in Minneapolis for three years, and then started Div school. I'm a life-long Lutheran, a bisexual man, and a Myers-Briggs ENFJ and an Enneagram 6.

Did you always want to be clergy?

No I did not, though I always assumed I'd be part of the church! I had a discussion with a good friend during my first year of college which ended with him giving me a copy of the ELCA's "What Shall I Say?" But I still wasn't convinced. After three more years in college and three years working as an educator in the Minneapolis Public Schools, I packed my bags and moved to Connecticut to start at Yale Divinity School. I haven't looked back.

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