Pastor Sarah Rohde


Pastor Sarah Rohde

Pastor Sarah grew up in South Dakota and Minnesota, lands that provided rich appreciation for the earth and strong ties to her Norwegian heritage. As the daughter of a pastor and worship musician, Sarah’s life, from the very beginning, was closely knit to the life of the church. She grew up dancing to hymns, reciting the prayers of confession by heart, and serving—albeit dreadfully—as the substitute acolyte whenever the confirmands didn’t show up. Sarah loved going to worship, and especially loved the sense of community that filled the sanctuary every Sunday. While this outs her as a church nerd at a very young age, it’s also the seedbed for Sarah’s call to ministry. At the heart of it all is the gift of knowing, every day of her life, what it is to belong to God and God’s family, and her deep desire that everyone might know that kind of belonging. She passionately believes that all people are known and loved by God, and understands that truth as the promise that frees us to live our lives in a different kind of way. Sarah feels called to help lead and create communities of faith where this gift of love becomes real and trustworthy.

While the seeds for pastoral ministry were planted at a young age, the journey to ministry involved a bit of wandering and meandering. Sarah attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where classes and travel challenged her faith and opened her eyes to the brokenness and beauty of our diverse world. It was during this chapter that Sarah claimed the life of faith as a way that not only allows for doubt, but calls for it.

After graduating from Concordia with degrees in music, Spanish, and religion, Sarah journeyed to Cuernavaca, Mexico to serve in the ELCA’s “Young Adults in Global Mission” program. For a year, Sarah lived with a Mexican family and spent most of her time accompanying women in a rural indigenous community. She learned in a very real way what it feels like to be a stranger in a foreign land, and what it means, in the midst of feeling so vulnerable and incompetent, to still be welcomed in. This is an experience that will not soon leave her heart.

Sarah attended the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. The highlight of her seminary education was her internship at Trinity Lutheran in New York City. The other highlight, of course, was bumping into a guy named Andrew on her very first day of seminary orientation. This admittedly disoriented her a bit, as Sarah and Andrew would quickly discover shared interests in running, cooking, school, and each other. They were married in 2013, just a month after Sarah began her call at Bethlehem. Andrew is a doctoral student in theology at the University of Chicago and pastor to Root and Branch Church in Logan Square.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church called Sarah to serve as their Associate Pastor in the summer of 2013. Pastor Sarah enthusiastically said, “Yes!” because of Bethlehem’s energizing commitment to discern together what it means to live as disciples of Christ in the world today.

Listen to Pastor Sarah’s sermons

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Bethlehem Lutheran Church