Guided by the opportunity to lead a faith community that is a source of transparency, healing and genuine relationship, Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer is in the process of completing her seminary education at Seattle University and Luther Seminary.
Being raised Lutheran, Anna rarely saw pastors that looked like her, and she didn’t realize that the skills she had, like music leadership, public speaking and discernment, were skills that could be used in ministry.
”I know many people, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color, who have been told they don’t belong or are not beloved by God, and have been hurt by their faith communities,” Anna says. “I see my ministry as a “bridge-building” ministry, which can connect folks from seemingly disparate spaces for genuine relationships, and can offer healing and welcome to those who have been told (falsely) that they somehow need to change who they are in order to belong.”
In local, regional and global communities, Anna has served in academia and social justice activism, as well as ministry and faith-based nonprofits. With this experience, she says that she is uniquely positioned to serve as a translator between secular and religious spaces, helping to build relationships and trust between communities. With a goal of becoming a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Anna intends to approach ministry through ELCA’s “Mission Development” track, which trains leaders to innovate, engage community and continue to propel the global church through creative faith-building.
“This scholarship is nourishment to me,” Anna says. “Each dime will go towards a page of my reading, a campus meal to fuel me through difficult ministry moments or spiritual direction that accompanies me through my faith journey. I’m preparing to do some of the hardest and most worthwhile work of my life, and knowing that you are here with me, in my corner, means everything. Thank you.”
The Chris Andersen WomenLead Scholarship recognizes the need for diverse leadership in ministry, nonprofits and civic organizations and seeks to accelerate the extraordinary leadership of diverse women of faith to lead change by using their talents to educate, advocate and activate.
Through InFaith, donors have the opportunity to create their own scholarship fund, make a grant to InFaith’s Field of Interest Fund in Education from their InFaith donor advised fund or give directly to their church’s InFaith Endowment Fund.