Rachel was raised and confirmed at Faith Lutheran Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Determined to find her place on the Broadway stage, Rachel began her university career as a Musical Theater Performance major. After a chance encounter of praying with a beggar outside of a cathedral while she was studying abroad in Spain, Rachel returned to the states and changed her concentration to History and Sociology: she was ever inspired to see how God’s story intersected with the story of humanity.
It was on Palm Sunday, 2008 in Salasaca, Ecuador while Rachel was serving as a missionary with Youth Encounter, that she witnessed a Quichua tribe hear the Bible story for the very first time in their language. Amidst a community singing, clapping, jumping, and shouting “Alleluia,” Rachel felt God’s call to tell the Gospel Story. Hopping from Internet cafés in Ecuador and Colombia, she filled out her application to study theology and mission development at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Upon graduating with her Master of Divinity degree in 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Graduate Preaching Fellowship. Rachel journeyed for sixteen months visiting indigenous communities throughout Central and South America learning how they engaged the biblical narrative through storytelling and preaching.
Nicknamed by the community in Santiago, Guatemala as the “Pastora de la Calle” [Pastor of the Streets], Rachel has studied, served, and preached in multiple bilingual and cross-cultural contexts as well as internationally throughout Central and South America, the Middle-East, and Europe.
As a theologian, Rachel draws inspiration from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hildegard of Bingen as well as art, music, and poetry that contemplate the beautiful complexity of the Sacred showing up when and where we least expect it.
Rachel will be ordained on Saturday, May 30 at 4:00 pm at Faith Lutheran in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is overjoyed at Christ’s work in the world and asks for your continued prayers as she starts her journey as Pastora Rachel (Raquel) here in the Gulf Coast Synod and as the mission developer for the new bilingual mission start in Kenner, Louisiana.
Jennifer Piland Kindsvatter
Jen has accepted a call to serve the people of Celebration Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas. In January, Jen completed a Master of Divinity through the Distributive Learning program of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is overjoyed to have survived both Hebrew and the winter weather in Minnesota.
For the majority of her seminary career, Jen served as the Faith Life Minister at St. Paul Lutheran Church in La Grange, where she learned to drink coffee excessively, (kind of) quilt and love God’s people deeply. For the last year, Jen served as the vicar (pastoral intern) of Celebration – where she learned to enjoy a great party, invest in the neighborhood and share God’s love lavishly. Jen is excited to be welcomed back to Celebration to serve as their pastor.
The ordination will be held on Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 pm at the Hillside Chapel (outdoors) at Lutherhill. Please dress accordingly, the weather is likely to be warm. Assistance will be provided for folks with mobility issues. All are welcome to stay for a fish fry prepared by the notorious Gene Citzler, followed by Chef Don Crowe’s fabulous banana pudding. Rostered leaders are invited to participate. Robes are not necessary as warm weather is anticipated; please wear red stoles.