Rev. Dr. Donna Simon
- Kansas City, MO
I was called to serve Abiding Peace Lutheran Church in the Northland of Kansas City, MO. In 2012, Abiding Peace merged with St. Mark Lutheran in the inner city of KC, and the new church became St. Mark Hope and Peace. ELCA Lutherans were doing our best to abandon the inner city in KC, but a terrific coalition of ministry partners from across the Metro has stepped up to support the last two churches standing. We are currently working hard on a drop-in youth center, called HOPE Center, which will open Fall 2016.
What brings you joy in your ministry?
Watching people embrace God's presence in our midst and join in building God's kingdom in Midtown KC. The opportunity to give voice to the concerns of those who struggle daily to get by. Taking a couple of girls from our neighborhood to horse camp--their first camping experience. Connecting young people from around the Metro to what is happening in the urban core. Working with people I love and respect. Building our community alongside my Beloved, Colleen, who works with persons recently released from prison. I love being in ministry with my wife, and love serving the people of our parish.
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
The women who forged a path in ministry for lesbians willing to tell the truth: Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, and Anita Hill.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
I love the lake in summer and football in winter. I read, a lot. I am having a blast raising two little boys who have been bounced from place to place for most of their lives. I will go anywhere and do anything if my wife is there.
Best meal you've ever eaten?
Some kind of ravioli with a lemon cream sauce, at an Italian restaurant in a strip mall somewhere near Anaheim, CA. It was about thirty years ago, and I can still taste it.
I am originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our family tried out Florida and Georgia before landing in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a degree in English Lit from San Francisco State and an M.Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. I am currently finishing a D.Min. in Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary (defending late March of 2016). I joined the Extraordinary Candidacy Project roster in 1999, and was ordained in 2000. I was received to the ELCA roster on the tenth anniversary of my ordination, Oct. 28, 2010. The love of my life is Colleen Simon, who entered my life at a Catholic retreat center in Malvern, PA in 2008. We were married in 2012, and are now sharing our lives and our home with two foster sons, four and six.
Did you always want to be clergy?
I wanted to be a forest ranger when I was a kid (and, amazingly, still didn't come out until I was 30!) I was studying to teach college English when I became the volunteer youth director at Messiah Lutheran in Redwood City, CA. I loved doing ministry, and would volunteer to do everything at church. The pastor began to encourage me to go to seminary, and after the requisite year of saying "No, I can't," I enrolled at PLTS. I've never looked back.