Rev. Kevin Jensen: I was born on a dairy farm in eastern South Dakota
and am a middle child, with two older brothers and two younger sisters.
I enjoyed growing up as a farm boy and claimed by my heritage as a
cradle Lutheran. In 1981, I graduated from South Dakota State University
with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. My first full-time job was to
open the Black Hills bureau for KELO-TV News. A couple of very
interesting assignments were to cover the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and
to go down into the Homestake Gold Mine. But soon I was drawn to
return to an area of ministry I loved in college, so I went back to Outlaw
Ranch to work year-round in outdoor ministry. After one more media job,
producing a half-hour TV show called Lutherans of the Prairie on the CBS affiliates in western North Dakota, I was called to seminary and graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1994. My favorite Bible verse is Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Rev. Carla Nelson: I was born on the west side of Chicago with four brothers. I graduated from
Luther College, Deborah, IA with degree in math in 1982. I joined the Peace Corps that year and worked for three years teaching math and organizing women’s farm cooperatives in Ghana, West Africa. Upon my return to the US, I studied at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and graduated in 1990. I served Gracious Saviour Lutheran Church, Detroit for 16 years before we moved to South Dakota. One of the joys I still have from seminary is a close group of clergy friends who formed together as a “dinner group.” We have done numerous vacations together and still enjoy seeing each other in a weekly zoom chat. My favorite Bible verse is Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Together: We met in Detroit, married, and have been blessed beyond our wildest imagination with two awesome children—Samuel, who graduated from SDSU in 2021 and works as a program budget specialist at the University in Brookings and—Kendra, who is a senior at the University of Minnesota in the Twins Cities and is majoring in kinesiology. We came to South Dakota when Pastor Kevin was called to serve as the campus pastor at the University of South Dakota (he liked to say he moved up the food chain from a Jackrabbit to Coyote!). He then served congregations in Alcester, and eventually Hudson, the past 11 years.
During that same time frame, Pastor Carla served two nearby rural congregations, Roseni and Union Creek Lutheran Churches. We were called to Grace Lutheran Church and installed on Sunday, December 4. Thank-you to all the disciples of Grace who have received us in such a warm and friendly way. Our special thanks to the Council, Call Committee, and congregational members who have warmly welcomed us. We look forward to sharing together in the mission and ministry of Grace!