Rev. Erik Haaland
- Minneapolis, MN
Christ Church Lutheran, Minneapolis, MN
What brings you joy in your ministry?
Worship that gathers a diverse assembly into one. Preaching that restores our trust in the God-who-is-love. Sacramental communion that unites us with Christ and a needy, broken world. The fact that, despite all our failings, the Spirit of God continues to show up--bathing us in undeserved mercy and filling our lives with hope.
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
Over the years I've been inspired by so many faithful pastors, teachers, and church musicians. If I named some, I'd be leaving out far too many! Lately I've been also inspired by those who, with hope and good humor, are finding creative ways to resist consumerism and radical globalization--two of the great totalitarian forces of our age. Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmer, Kate, who tends a small farm in Western Wisconsin, is one of the most faithful, creative, generous, and good-humored people I've ever met. There's hope and inspiration here for us all.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
I enjoy building and fixing things, even with moderate skill. I love to cook simple, tasty food. I'm learning to garden. I love to make and listen to music. I enjoy quiet evenings with a book in hand. I love sharing meals with family and friends, and time with our nieces and nephew. I put up with our two cats, and occasionally delight in them.
Best meal you've ever eaten?
Daniel and I still talk about this: We were with friends on a hillside in the South of France, overlooking the Mediterranean. With no table and hardly any utensils, we shared a meal of fresh bread, cheese and honey, with grapes from an abandoned vineyard just off the side of the gravel road. The hillside itself was fragrant in the way that only dry, arid landscapes can be. The sun sparkled on the waters below. It was a glimpse of paradise.
I grew up near my grandparents' ranch outside of Shepherd, Montana, a small town not far from Billings. The high plains still feel like home. I ended up leaving Montana to study music--and, eventually, religion--at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. After graduation and a semester teaching English at a Lutheran seminary in Madagascar, I completed an M.Div degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
After a complicated journey through the ELCA's candidacy process, I was called to serve as Pastor at Holden Village, a retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. My partner Daniel and I were there for three good years before returning to Minnesota in 2009. Since then I've found work as a house painter--work I've quite enjoyed!--until being called late in 2013 to serve as Associate Pastor at Christ Church Lutheran in South Minneapolis. Daniel and I have been members of Christ Church since 2010.
Did you always want to be clergy?
No! In junior high and high school people would occasionally ask me about becoming a pastor and I thought the idea was silly. I wanted to make more money than that! Later, I decided I didn't believe anything the church taught. Still later, after worship drew me back in and taught me to love the church in a way I never had before, I thought the church wouldn't have me as a pastor because I was gay. In spite of that, however, people kept telling me that they thought I should be a pastor. With some setbacks, I kept inching along that path until, lo and behold, Holden Village called me to come and be its pastor. Then, just as I was getting ready to leave Holden, the ELCA changed its policy about pastors in same-gender relationships. Just over four years later, in late November, 2013, I was officially ordained and began as associate pastor at Christ Church Lutheran.