Rev. Julie Wright
- Inver Grove Heights, MN
I serve as lead pastor at Amazing Grace Lutheran in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, a suburb on the East side of the Twin Cities. I’m excited to be a pastor in this church that is set in a rapidly expanding neighborhood. Amazing Grace has a vibrant inter-generational ministry, with strengths in worship, justice/advocacy and Christian education. We have the most awesome Vacation Bible School! The church is located next to a senior living facility, which enables the inclusion of residents in the full life of the congregation.
What brings you joy in your ministry?
For me, it's all about the people -- the people who are part of the church but also for me it's about knowing and spending time with those who are not part of any church but who seek connection and meaning. I love to see God in the fabric of ordinary and yet quite extraordinary, messy, quirky and holy people who are doing their best to follow in the way of Jesus.
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
The Holy Spirit constantly nudges me to learn and grow. Children inspire me with their honesty. Older folks inspire with their story telling and wisdom. I often find inspiration at the intersection of the (so-called) "secular" and the (so-called) "sacred" which are usually one in the same. I am inspired by humor, by art and by diversity in all its forms. Singing, for me, is prayer.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
I like spending time weight lifting, snow shoeing, reading and drinking coffee. (Coffee can be a hobby, right?)
Best meal you've ever eaten?
Oh my goodness! It was an awesome lunch from this little place that's no longer open. It was a grilled salmon sandwich on a toasted bun with a dill creme sauce and arugula, seasoned fries, and a cold beer!
I grew up on a hobby farm in rural St. James, Minnesota where as a child I learned how to bottle-feed lambs, "walk beans" on my grandparents’ farm, and spent my summers reading piles of books in the shade beneath fragrant ponderosa pines. I graduated from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (Minn.) and interned at the fabulous Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Did you always want to be clergy?
When I was around 8 or 9 years old, my dog (who was my best friend and constant companion) had cancer. Before her surgery, I told her about Jesus and baptized her. I'm not sure if that was a sign of my call to be a pastor, but it certainly was a reflection of my faith at that young age. Then when the Holy Spirit came knocking on my door again in my mid-30's I knew that the time was right to respond to that persistent call.