PLU Names New University Pastor
By Donna Gibbs
PLU Marketing & Communications
The Rev. Jen Rude is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Metro Chicago synod
TACOMA, WASH. (May 16, 2016) – The Rev. Jen Rude will join Pacific Lutheran University as university pastor on August 1, 2016. Rude comes to PLU from Chicago, where she most recently served as program director for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and as a colleague in ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston, Ill.
At Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, Rude led programs committed to expanding opportunities nationally in the ELCA for LGBTQ pastors. She has also served as youth outreach minister for The Night Ministry in Chicago, where she provided pastoral care, crisis response and advocacy in an interfaith and multicultural setting for young adults experiencing homelessness.
“I was shaped by the values of a liberal arts education at an ELCA-affiliated university,” Rude said. “I benefited from learning to ask questions, living into my values, engaging difference, serving others and living in community. It was hard, and at times, I desperately needed a place of grace. I feel called to help create that space – physically and spiritually – with the PLU community,” she said.
Rude earned a B.A. in Religion, with minors in Gender Studies and Psychology, from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2002, and a Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., in 2005. She was ordained into the ministry in 2007.
Last spring, the university, in partnership with the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA with which PLU is affiliated, began the first comprehensive review of campus ministry in more than 20 years. In addition to providing leadership for worship life at PLU and serving as pastor of the university congregation, the campus-wide review created new expectations for the university’s next pastor.
“Pastor Rude’s experience working in congregational and community ministry settings that welcome and honor all, regardless of gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation or socio-economic differences, makes her an ideal pastor to broaden the role of campus ministry,” said the Rev. Rick Jaech, bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA. “With her strong Lutheran roots, Jen also has the experience and commitment to develop a cadre of ecumenical and interfaith partner chaplains who can assist in providing pastoral care for PLU’s diverse, multi-faith community. We also think she will be an effective partner with faculty and staff to provide learning opportunities around questions of identity, vocation, faith formation, justice and other topics relevant to PLU’s mission of educating students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming Jen to PLU and supporting her and her staff as she builds a campus ministry that is diverse, engaging, nourishing, at times challenging, and worthy of the mission of PLU,” said PLU President Thomas W. Krise.
Rude replaces the Rev. John Rosenberg, who has served as interim university pastor at PLU for the past year, and who will be teaching in PLU’s department of Religion this fall.
Pacific Lutheran University purposefully integrates the liberal arts, professional studies and civic engagement. With distinctive international programs and close student-faculty research opportunities, PLU helps its 3,300 students from all faiths and backgrounds discern their vocations in life. Founded in 1890 by Norwegian pioneers, PLU continues the distinctive tradition of Lutheran higher education through its commitment to the advancement of knowledge, thoughtful inquiry and questioning, the preparation of citizens in service to the world and to its ongoing reform.