Imagery of church-related people and places.

Joseph Klinger

Ministry setting

I currently serve as the Pastor of Redemption Lutheran Church in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia. For more information visit

What brings you joy in your ministry?

Truly it is the people. Being able to encounter so many different people all brought together by the love they have experienced through their faith is so beautiful and joyful to me. Seeing the body of Christ united in worship, fellowship, and service, that brings me joy.

Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?

My colleagues truly inspire me. To see such a varied bunch of people, especially now heading into ministry and trying new things, they are what help keep me going and what help me to want to work to be a better pastor.

What are your interests outside of ministry?

I love theater and film. My favorite musical is Ragtime, and my favorite film is The King's Speech. Tv shows currently include Rupaul's Drag Race, 911, and Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Best meal you've ever eaten?

The chefs table on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of The Seas. Don't remember every dish, but it was absolutely fantastic.

Brief bio

I grew up in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh. At age five my parents joined a Lutheran church and I have been Lutheran ever since. It was at Trinity Lutheran Church in Butler that I learned about God's extraordinary love for me. It was a Trinity that I began exploring what a call might look like for me. In 2009 I headed to Thiel College with the hope of going to seminary, but not the intention. The statement on sexuality had just been released and I didn't know how the church would react. Luckily, by the time I was done with school in 2013 the church seemed more open, and I took the plunge into seminary. It was also in 2013 that I married my husband, Mark. We got married and moved to Philadelphia so I could attend seminary at what was the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. After completing three years of seminary I completed a capstone internship at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Center City Philadelphia.

Did you always want to be clergy?

Since high school I had wanted to be clergy. I had the good fortune of having a youth pastor in my life who saw gifts in me before I even saw them. He encouraged me and guided me, letting me serve on committees, getting me active in the church, and letting me preach one Sunday. It was through his gentle prodding that it got me to consider the call. I was also wrestling with my sexuality and I knew if I came out at the time I would have to live in the closet to be a Pastor in the ELCA. I didn't want that. By what I can only believe is the Holy Spirit the same year I went to college was the year the sexuality statement was adopted. This opened the door for me to be in the ministry I am today. I entered candidacy in Southwest PA synod, but ended with my candidacy in Northeast PA.

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