I’m excited and honoured to introduce to you my friend and colleague, Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum. I first met Lindsey when they were finishing their final year at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon while I was beginning my first year. Warm and welcoming in a kind and hearty way, Lindsey demonstrated the kind of hospitality and community we all desire when entering new territory. I’ve deeply appreciated getting to know Lindsey and their wife, Dani, and I’m excited to get know both of them better when I moved to the city for internship. Lindsey and Dani live in Edmonton, Alberta, and is one of the pastors at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church.
Identity and Pronouns
Pastor at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (Edmonton, Alberta)
A Little Bit About Lindsey
Lindsey was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta. A ‘lifelong Lutheran’, they grew up in conservative church culture, participating in a congregation their grandparents had helped found. As Lindsey says, it was “a lot of church”. Lindsey grew up with a younger sister, discovering the world around them in family and community.
At first, Lindsey pursued an education to become a high school biology teacher. It made sense growing up in a community surrounded by teachers. However, as is so often the case, God had a different plan. Lindsey sensed the call to ministry during their undergrad. Not wanting to become a pastor at first, Lindsey describes their initial response as something like Jonah’s – needing to run away from all that God had in mind.
Once Lindsey turned around and embraced this new calling, they changed their educational track to religious studies. Now that seminary is completed, Lindsey is a full time ordained clergy person with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. They work towards full LGBTQ2S+ inclusion within the church, and engage in social justice activities alongside marginalized groups.
Lindsey grew up in a church that maintained a literal interpretation of Scripture. When Lindsey announced they were pursuing a degree in biology, they were received with worries about evolution possibly shaking their faith. “I came to a backwards realization that I had shifted [in my understanding of Scripture] but central family members hadn’t.” As their awareness deepened, Lindsey saw people ‘seen as other’more and more. The degree to which they loved people changed.
Two formative groups helped shaped Lindsey’s holistic formation as they walked through post-secondary education – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Ecumenical Campus Ministries. As Lindsey walked through their coming out journey during this time, they lost many friends at IVCP, sadly. Lindsey was torn between two worlds as they could see value in both spaces. Their experiences during this time helped Lindsey to pursue radical love and acceptance in new ways. “I love and respect people from all my communities,” they say. “and I’ve experienced and given grace going in both directions.”
The world is a busy place so a ground practice is important for Lindsey. Reflecting and meditation on hymns helps Lindsey draw back to God, and is reminded that there is no need to worry. When anxiety builds after reading the news or scrolling through social media, practicing being rooted in the lyrics and music of the people of God give Lindsey peace.
Lindsey has lots of hope
Both they and Dani experience a lot of support from their communities in Lethbridge. Lindsey was coming out just as the ELCIC was determining whether or not to approve LGBTQ2S+ marriage. The church was split and there was a lot of hurt and damage to account for. Lindsey was and is grateful for the love they experience with their family and friends.
During that time, Lindsey encountered pastors who would take them out for coffee in order to share with them: “God loves you.” Fully. Completely. Lindsey desire to share that same message with the people they encounter in ministry. Much work remains to be done between the church and the LGBTQ2S+ communities, but it is a powerful and prophetic work.
“Right now, we’re missing vital body parts in the body of Christ,” Lindsey says, referring to the exclusion of LGBTQ2S+ people from church life, community, and ministry. Lindsey understands that by demonizing marginalized people, both sides lose. The LGBTQ2S+ community suffers deeply, but the church also loses human capacity to engage and to love. By healing from that stance towards a liberating theology, we come to understand that our freedom is tied up together.
Lindsey mentioned that two of her favourite hymns are “Firework” by Katie Perry and Sufjan Stevens’ rendition of “Come Thou Fount”. I hope you are inspired and encouraged today by these songs. Don’t forget to check out the other Pride Month Features: