College Ministries head named at Luther

Melissa Bills has been named director of College Ministries and college pastor at Luther College.

Melissa Bills has been named director of College Ministries and college pastor at Luther College.

Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bills has served as associate pastor for First Lutheran Church in Decorah since 2013. Her ministry is dedicated to nurturing people through faith and formation journeys and to furthering the church’s role in working for social justice. Beginning on Aug. 23, Bills will bring her thought-provoking sermons to Luther’s worship services in the Center for Faith and Life, which are open to the public. She will lead and coordinate Luther’s multiple ministries supporting students’ faith life both on and off campus; provide mentoring, vocational discernment, spiritual formation support, care and communication to students and the wider Luther community; and support partnership with the ELCA and ecumenical and interfaith organizations in higher education.

“Colleges of the ELCA have a unique opportunity to serve as a bridge between higher education and the church, particularly a church animated by the reforming spirit of Martin Luther. I know Pastor Melissa will be a committed and thoughtful partner with us as we seek to honor our history as a Lutheran college while also widening the circle to ensure students of all faith traditions and ethical positions find a place of welcome in our college ministries program,” said President Jenifer K. Ward.

Luther builds community around a lively and inclusive conversation of faith and learning that engages the world in all of its complexity. It’s a mission Bills is eager to support.

“I am thrilled to join this vibrant community and look forward to building relationships on campus,” she said. “I hope that College Ministries can continue to be a sign on campus of the love, compassion and hope of God that brings us together and sends us out to care for one another, to seek justice and to care for the world.”

Bills received her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and she received her B.A. in religion and English from St. Olaf College. She completed her Lutheran seminary residency at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Bills received the David Allan Weadon Prize in Sacred Music at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the co-author of “Families Celebrate Advent and Christmas” and a contributor to “A Place For You Interactive Edition: My Holy Communion Book,” both published by Augsburg Fortress Press / 1517 Media.

Prior to her time at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, Bills served as associate pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill.; and pastoral intern at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois. An installation service for Pastor Bills will be held this fall, in coordination with the Northeast Iowa Synod of the ELCA. 

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