Gustavus Adolphus College President Jack R. Ohle announced today (Monday, July 1, 2013) that the Reverend Siri C. Erickson and the Reverend Brian E. Konkol have accepted calls to become the new chaplains at the College. They will officially join the college community on August 1, 2013.
“I am excited to welcome these two dynamic young pastors to campus to usher in a new era in the faith life of Gustavus Adolphus College,” said President Ohle. “I feel Pastor Erickson and Pastor Konkol are particularly qualified to bring the entire campus community together under one ministry team that will celebrate diversity and embrace connectedness,” Ohle added. “As we worked to discern the future of the chaplaincy for the College, it became clear that the combined skills of Rev. Erickson and Rev. Konkol presented an exciting opportunity for the campus community. They met to talk about the possibilities and made an instant connection, discovering that they shared an exciting vision for ministry together at Gustavus.”
“We are able to make this announcement today because of the work done by the chaplain’s search call committee under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Darrell Jodock,” President Ohle said. “The hours that the committee spent reviewing credentials and talking with candidates were important in being able to fully articulate the unique team ministry that Chaplains Erickson and Konkol will now enable us to live out on the Gustavus campus.”
Erickson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carleton College where she majored in chemistry. In 2002, she received her master of divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology. While at Claremont, she was honored with the President’s Award for academic excellence and was also presented the Award for Excellence in biblical studies.
Since 2004, Erickson has been the Pastor of Lifelong Learning at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn. Her responsibilities have focused primarily around building learning systems and providing collaborative and visionary leadership to deepen the engagement of the community in spiritual development. She taught classes, planned and led worship in four different styles, and facilitated small-group theological conversations with teenagers, young adults, and adults of all ages to help raise awareness and expectations about the theological capabilities of people in the congregation. Erickson also served as a social media specialist for Trinity with expertise in Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube to name a few. In addition, for the last year she has served as a leadership coach and strategical leadership consultant at the Center for Good Work in Stillwater.
“While I was on campus for my interview I had this feeling of a homecoming even though I am not a Gustavus alum,” said Erickson. “It was a sense of coming home to a place where the values and mission of the College are in sync with who I am as a person and as a spiritual leader. I believe that everything I have done in my ministry and my life up to this point has prepared me exceptionally well for this new role at Gustavus. I can’t wait to get started!”
Konkol is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., where he majored in criminal justice. In 2005, he received his master of divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary. While enrolled in seminary he served a one-year internship with the Ebenezer Lutheran Parish in Guyana, and shortly after his graduation he returned to Guyana to become pastor of the Emmanual Lutheran Parish where he served from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, he accepted the position of Country Coordinator for the Young Adults in Global Missions (YAGM) program with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa in Pietermaritzburg. As the first Country Coordinator of YAGM in Southern Africa, Pastor Konkol played an important role in the original formation of program operations in the region. In addition to his duties at YAGM, he also served as a parish minister in the north and south parishes of Pietermaritzburg and was a lecturer at the Lutheran Theological Institute.
In the fall of 2009, Konkol began work on a master of theology degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He graduated cum laude in the spring of 2011. He is currently a PhD candidate with an emphasis on theology and development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Konkol left South Africa in the spring of 2012 to accept a call as a co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, Wis., with primary responsibilities for congregational leadership, public advocacy, and local and global social justice.
“During my visit to campus, I found myself surrounded at every turn by gifted people who seek common ground for a common good,” stated Konkol. “To accompany the campus community will provide an amazing opportunity to mutually engage, transform, and set free.”
When asked together about their opportunity to be a part of the ministry team at Gustavus, Konkol stated and Erickson concurred, “It is exciting to become a part of the long and storied history of the chaplaincy at Gustavus and an honor for us to carry on the legacy of chaplains Richard Elvee, Brian Johnson, Rachel Larson and Rod Anderson. We welcome the chance to discern the future of ministry at Gustavus that God is bringing us into together.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin