My Name Is ... Sonja Sandquist

Family and youth pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Posted 11/4/19

True Lutheran I'm originally from Wisconsin, and I'm from a Scandinavian background. I'm a true Midwestern Lutheran. I actually have a business degree, but in college I was a camp counselor at …

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My Name Is ... Sonja Sandquist

Family and youth pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Posted

True Lutheran

I'm originally from Wisconsin, and I'm from a Scandinavian background. I'm a true Midwestern Lutheran.

I actually have a business degree, but in college I was a camp counselor at Rainbow Trail in southwest Colorado, and when I graduated I had two job offers to become a church youth director, so that's where life took me.

My husband is also a pastor, and when I was 40 and he was 50, we went back to school and each got a master's in divinity. We became pastors in rural Kansas, and that's mostly where we raised our kids.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Littleton is my “first call” — the first place I've served as an ordained person.

Inspire and empower

It's God's work, and it's affirmed by the people. Even when there are hard days, there's a bigger force at work. I put a lot of stake in the work of the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower people, because otherwise it'd be impossible and discouraging.

Every 500 years there's an upheaval in history. The Protestant Reformation was about 500 years ago, so it's not surprising to think that the church is going through another now. We talk a lot about what still needs to change.

There's not really a social expectation to go to church at this point, which is good and bad — it means the people who come really want to be here. We're not about guilt and shame, we're just excited to see you. But overall, there's a decline in Protestant ministry across the board. There's not an easy answer, and we do a lot of praying about it.

Open and welcoming

Our Sunday school was down to about five kids, so we started a new informal worship. It's contemporary music, and kids are just wandering around and playing during the service.

Our church is openly welcoming to LGBTQ+ people. Nearly everyone in this congregation has someone in their life who that fits. One of our interns is transgender, and she'll be ordained soon. We want folks to know this is a safe place. All are welcome.

We're part of a network of churches that helps shelter homeless families. We work to help people get back on their feet, back in a home, and get back to life.

To me, God is saying: “You are loved, you are not alone, and we're in this together.” The rest is extra.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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