Sister Jamie Almquist, a candidate for ordination in the Moravian Church, has accepted the call to serve as pastor of the Good Shepherd Moravian Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jamie earned her MDiv from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado in 2021 and will complete a Certificate in Moravian Studies from Moravian Theological Seminary this month. Jamie will be ordained a Deacon on Saturday, May 20th at Glenwood Moravian Community Church in Madison, WI, where she has been serving under appointment while completing her theological training. She will begin her ministry at Good Shepherd when the immigration process permits.
Jamie has always been fascinated by religion and spirituality, spending a significant portion of her life exploring different faith traditions, learning about how people live out their faith in practice, and experimenting with a variety of faith traditions. “For me, understanding other ways of living out faith and spirituality was helpful in better understanding my own faith and spirituality.” Despite being brought up in the Catholic Church, Jamie did not feel like she knew much about Christianity. In an effort to learn more, but without the intention of becoming a pastor, she decided to pursue her master of divinity at Iliff School of Theology, a United Methodist school. Through a series of events, which included working at a UCC church and experiencing mentorship by the pastor there, Jamie realized that she might be interested in church leadership after all.
Jamie began to explore denominations, and after an experience at a church where no one called her back, she stumbled across the Moravian Church in Lake Mills, Wisconsin and stopped in to talk with the pastor, Dave Sobek. She then reached out to the community at her seminary and someone put her in touch with Rev. Staci Marrese-Wheeler, who then connected her with Rev. Bruce Nelson, the president of the Western District Executive Board. Before she knew it, she was becoming a member of the Moravian Church, doing internships, and working toward ordination. “Go and do,” God said. Jamie went, and the Moravian Church drew her in.
Jamie is grateful for the support she has received from the Moravian clergy in southern Wisconsin as well as the wider Moravian Church. “The kindness and love I have felt not only from my colleagues, but also from each church I have worked with and from the bishops and provincial-level leadership has been heartwarming.” Throughout her journey, she has felt “gentle guidance, but no pressure, and a lot of discernment.” Jamie feels that she has found exactly what she was seeking in the theology and practice of the Moravian Church.
Looking ahead to ordained service, Jamie is eager to serve people and communities, with an eye toward social justice. She is looking forward to loving her neighbors, caring for people, and supporting the communities in which she will serve. “I am excited to start my ministry in Calgary and to see how myself and the members and friends of Good Shepherd can work together to support their needs as well as the needs of the community.”
We are grateful that Jamie’s discernment process has led her to ordained service in the Moravian Church. Please be in prayer for Jamie and her loved ones, as well as the Glenwood and Good Shepherd congregations in this time of joy and transition.