New Pastor to Begin at Bethany

A new pastor will soon begin work at Bethany College in Lindsborg.

According to the school, Pastor Melissa Woeppel ‘15, will join the Bethany family in January.

“The work of a campus pastor is immensely important to the life of the Bethany College community. A full-time campus pastor will allow us to connect our past and our Lutheran heritage with the college’s diverse student body. I am excited to work with Pastor Woeppel, as I know she will bring a crucial pastoral presence into the lives of students, staff, and faculty,” says Adam Pryor, Bethany College Provost and head of the search committee.

Pastor Woeppel graduated from Bethany College summa cum laude in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication, and a minor in Religion. Originally from Firth, Nebraska., she Bethany College due to its affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Her love for community and faith led her to Bethany College. A political theology course taught by Adam Pryor, Provost, “drew me further into the study of theology and ultimately propelled me to go to seminary,” says Woeppel.

She was a pastoral intern from 2017 to 2018 and became a pastoral associate in 2019 at the Peace Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.  while attending the United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Pastor Woeppel received her Master of Divinity and became Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Living Christ in 2019.

“I am proud to be an alum of 2015! I loved my time as a student and cannot wait to be part of the campus community again. I look forward to cultivating relationships of care and trust that build community and revitalize campus ministry. While this can be serious work, there is also plenty of room   for fun,” explains Pastor Woeppel.

When asked about her vision for Bethany Woeppel replied “My vision is to provide a space for students to connect to each other, the wider community, and to God. I hope to co-create meaningful campus rituals and to equip students to engage in personal and communal spiritual practices. I envision the chapel as a place where there is room for everyone to come as they are and where a variety of spiritual and religious traditions are honored and celebrated. Campus ministry will include opportunities for nourishment and growth, for important conversations, and times of comfort and rest.”

Regarding what she loves most about being a pastor she says, “one of my great joys as a pastor is connecting with people and being present with them through the changes and challenges of life. By the nature of this call, I often get to accompany people through things like moving, new or deepening relationships, new jobs, retirement, and even loss and grief. It is a gift and a responsibility to be a part of these journeys.”