Rev. Joy K. Bussart, Ph.D. ’02

What do you do?    
I’m an interim pastor for the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. Ordained in 1978, I have served the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), for 38 years in various capacities as a parish pastor, staff for a council of churches, interim pastor, and adjunct teaching faculty at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
What is the best thing about what you do?
What’s most satisfying is not only the traditional spheres of ministry like preaching, teaching, worship, and music, but the opportunity to use my doctoral work at Union to encourage the people of God to engage the largest questions of the day.   To be the church is to be in continuity with a first-century counter-cultural movement of resistance for the sake of justice, mercy, and peace.
How did Union prepare you for this work?
Professor Roger Shinn, then Academic Dean, first welcomed me to the Quad at Union in 1985. Already for seven years I had been involved in ordained pastoral and ecumenical ministry where I had lived and worked “on the boundary” in Paul Tillich’s famous phrase, walking the fine line between churches in Minnesota and the early 1970s and 80s grassroots movements to establish shelters and crisis centers for battered and abused women and children.  I arrived for my interview at Union bearing in my soul the full weight of Reinhold Niebuhr’s critique of the liberal illusions of the social gospel movement because white liberals like me did not readily understand

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