Meet Pastor Sam
Bethlehem is a vibrant, fun, and caring congregation that I am honored
and incredibly blessed to be a part of. All are welcome here and I hope you will join us and see for yourself!
Sermon Blog: https://sinningboldlywithsam.wordpress.com/
Pastor Sam Nelson's
Hello! My name is Sam Nelson, and I am the associate
pastor here at Bethlehem.
I was born in the Midwest, but spent
most of my time growing up in a small, coastal town in Northern California called Half Moon Bay. My mother is a Lutheran pastor as well, so I grew up immersed in church life and Lutheran tradition.
I attended California
Lutheran University where I majored in psychology and minored in religion. Upon graduating in 2011, I decided to continue to pursue psychology and enrolled in a masters program in Washington
D.C. It was during a Maundy Thursday worship service, right after the
foot-washing at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in northwest DC that I experienced my call to ministry. I spent the next year in discernment and conversation with friends and family, and after I
had finished the program I enrolled in seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. During seminary I worked for one summer as a hospital chaplain at UCSF Medical Center. During my second year I had a part time internship at Lebanon Lutheran Church
in the far south side community of Hegewisch. And my full-time,
year-long internship was at Zion Lutheran Church in Muscatine, IA.
I am very excited to be back on the west coast. I love the ocean and enjoy body surfing and boogie boarding. In my free time I like swimming, Zumba, softball, listening to my favorite podcasts like “Welcome
to Night Vale”, and trying new beers with friends.
One of the main reasons that I went to seminary was to show that not all religious folks are like the ones
who dominate the airwaves and are portrayed in popular media. I am an LGBTQ ally, a feminist, and am passionate about
equal rights for all people.
I believe that the stigma against
the topic of mental health and mental health treatment in this country needs to change. I have done work in the church
on domestic and sexual violence awareness.
I think that the mission of the church is twofold. First
it must be a place where community is created, and people can experience healing, restoration, forgiveness, and reconciliation. And secondly, it must be a place that equips people to go out into the world
to make it a better place – a closer reflection of the kingdom of God.