Rev. Shawn Brandon
- Arnold, MD
Pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Arnold, MD
What brings you joy in your ministry?
Worship brings me the greatest joy in ministry. Planning it, leading it, simply participating in it, studying it... Anything related to worship is what I enjoy the most about ministry.
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
Former Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has always been a great inspiration to me. Serving as his secretary when he was bishop in the Saint Paul Area Synod provided a rich opportunity to witness his many gifts as pastor and bishop - something that was clearly present throughout his 12 years serving as presiding bishop.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
I sing with The Thomas Circle Singers - a group of about 35 voices based in Washington, DC. My spouse and I also enjoy movies and walking. Of course, my greatest interest is my 17 year old daughter, Emma Grace! She is a delight.
Best meal you've ever eaten?
Any of the pot-luck meals at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill in St. Paul, MN. It was always an amazing mix of Norwegian, African and Southeast Asian food!
For most of my life, Minnesota has been my home. I grew up in Baudette, MN, a small town (1,100 people) on the Canadian border, and graduated from high school in 1984. After spending one year as a foreign exchange student in Norway, I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN (a college of the ELCA) graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in K-12 vocal music education and choral conducting. Following graduation, I served as a choir director at Zion Lutheran Church in Warroad, MN and then at First Lutheran Church in my hometown of Baudette. In 1991 I entered Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN graduating in 1995 with a Master of Arts degree in pastoral theology and ministry and began serving as Minister of Music and Education at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, MN. During this time I was admitted to one of the lay rosters of the ELCA as an Associate in Ministry. I left that position in 1996 to serve as secretary to Bishop Mark Hanson of the Saint Paul Area Synod until 2000 when I returned to Luther Seminary to complete the coursework for the Master of Divinity degree. In 2002 I completed that work and returned to my hometown of Baudette to serve as an intern after which, in 2003, I was called and ordained to serve the three congregations of the Baudette Lutheran Parish as a co-pastor with Rev. Harald Bringsjord. In 2009, I concluded that call and began providing pulpit supply services in the Northwestern Minnesota Synod and in 2011 moved to Washington, DC where I also provided pulpit supply services throughout the Metropolitan Washington DC Synod while awaiting a pastoral call. Over the next few years I served as the sabbatical pastor at Hope Lutheran Church, Annandale, VA and at All Saints Lutheran Church, Bowie, MD while their pastors were on sabbatical and as the interim pastor at Gloria Dei! Lutheran Church in Arnold, MD. I was called to serve this congregation as their settled pastor in November of 2015. My spouse, Mo, and I live (along with my mother) in the parsonage in Arnold but do get back to Minnesota to visit family (in particular my daughter, Emma, who is a senior in high school).
Did you always want to be clergy?
No! It was during my final year of college that the Holy Spirit actually drew me through the doors of a church - but I have been there ever since in various capacities: member, director of music and education, etc... I took the long road to pastoral ministry - but it was a good one!