Rev. Sabina Koij to Join Ministry Team as Visiting Chaplain

Posted on March 22nd, 2012 by

Rev. Sabina Koij

Rev. Rodney Anderson, Interim Senior Chaplain at Gustavus, announced today that The Rev. Sabina Koij, a minister of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, serving as a pastor at Storkyrkan, the Cathedral of Stockholm, has accepted a two-year position as Visiting Chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Chaplain Koij will join the ministry team, which includes Chaplain Anderson, Chaplain Rachel Larson, and Chaplain Grady St. Dennis, who also serves as Director of Church Relations. Rev. Koij’s husband, Mattias E. Koij, an accomplished organist and church musician, will also be joining the ministry team for two years as Visiting Cantor.  Mr. Koij is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and has served as cantor/organist for the last ten years in the Sköndal Church near Stockholm.

The Koijs will begin their work at the College in August 2012.  Rev. Koij spent a week at Gustavus in early December when she participated in the College’s Christmas in Christ Chapel services by playing the role of St. Birgitta.

Mattias E. Koij

“We look forward with excitement to the opportunities Visiting Chaplain Sabina and Visiting Cantor Mattias will bring to this interim time, joining the great traditions of worship and music of Christ Chapel that is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.  They will enrich these traditions by sharing their talents with the entire Gustavus community,” Rev. Anderson said.

Rev. Koij’s primary responsibility during her two-year term will be to provide pastoral leadership and ministry that nurtures students and all in the Gustavus community.  Her ministry will help uphold the College’s Swedish Lutheran rootedness in Christianity, build welcoming ecumenical relationships, and encourage inter-religious dialogue at the intersection of faith and learning.

“My week at Gustavus this past winter meant a lot to me in many aspects,” Rev. Koij said. “First of all, I felt so welcomed; I was treated like a queen and was very touched by the generosity and warmth of everyone I met. I was also very impressed by the quality of everything from the academic life, the music-skills and relaxed relationships I saw between staff and students. As a Visiting Pastor, I found it very meaningful to join the services and observe the work of my American colleagues. It was also, of course, an honor, and I felt very special to be a part of the magnificent Christmas in Christ Chapel.”

Rev. Koij continued, “During my week at Gustavus, I said to myself: “I would really like to show this place to my family!” And now this has become true. We will begin our two-year adventure, challenge, and experience in August and are doing so with great joy and anticipation. We hope to be able to, bit by bit, become a part of the life at Gustavus and contribute to the community as a family. We are a large family of six, with four children who will go to school in St. Peter and this will, of course, for them be something that will enrich their lives forever.  We are deeply thankful for this opportunity we are given to spend a couple of years at Gustavus and hope to get to know, talk to, and meet with you. Thank you for letting us share some time at Gustavus Adolphus College with you – we are very excited about what lies ahead!”

The Koij family has roots in Minnesota.  Rev. Koij’s mother was born in Lake Park, Minn., and she spent three of her early childhood years living in Minneapolis while her father completed his law degree at the University of Minnesota.

The Koijs have four children:  Ivar (12), Aron (11), Anja (8), and Egon (2).



Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. ZB says:

    I’m very excited to have Rev Koij return to Gustavus! I remember meeting her on several occasions and she was a lovely person. Hopefully she will return to guest lecture in the Scandinavian Studies Department again, on occasion 🙂

  2. Pastor Rod Anderson says:

    Mattias, Sabina, Ivar, Aron, Anja, Egon and Grandmother too,

    What a great story is being told of your coming to Gustavus and an even greater and more wonderful story will soon be written and remembered in the life of Gustavus and in the lives of each one in your own family!!

    Julane and I and our whole family look forward to greeting and welcoming you to be with us in the Gustavus community for the coming two years and in our stories forever!

    Pastor Rod and Julane Anderson