The St. Olaf community welcomed a new member into its fold this summer. Pastor Katie Fick, recognizable around campus by her vibrant red hair and her kind smile, was recently installed as St. Olaf’s new associate pastor.
“From worship to pastoral conversations, learning opportunities to service projects, the associate college pastor is involved in every ministry of the St. Olaf student congregation,” College Pastor Matthew Marohl said. “Pastor Fick brings joy and grace and depth to all aspects of her pastoral ministry. I am thrilled to have her join our college ministry team.”
Fick grew up in Wells, Minn. She was involved with the Lutheran church throughout her life but wasn’t sure how to continue her interest in religious studies. She graduated from Augustana College in South Dakota with a degree in vocal performance and no certain plans about her future.
It wasn not until she worked an office job at a church that she realized her calling.
“I saw everybody’s roles in the church, and when I watched the pastors and the relationships they got to have, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I really loved being able to have those real relationships, being a part of people’s lives,” Fick said.
Fick looks forward to nurturing those relationships with St. Olaf students. Her favorite aspect of the college is the engagement and enthusiasm of the student body.
“When I hand out communion, people are all smiling; they can’t wait,” she said. “The students are happy to be here, they’re engaged, they want to talk about their lives and their enthusiasm for this place.”
Fick is also enthusiastic about the college and how it complements her gifts and goals as a pastor. At St. Olaf, she is able to focus on two of her favorite pastoral duties – worship and in-depth relationships – without worrying about other duties like stewardship or fundraising.
“I got really excited when I heard about the opening at St. Olaf,” Fick said. “It’s such a vibrant worship life; there’s so many worship opportunities. And you get to be with students all the time. I immediately was drawn to it.”
Coming from a four-year position at a parish with a congregation of about 100 people, St. Olaf’s population of more than 3,000 students is a welcome contrast for the extroverted pastor.
While Boe Chapel identifies with the Lutheran tradition, Fick stressed that any student with any religious background is welcome to attend worship and come to her for advice and counseling.
When asked about which student organizations she sees herself getting involved with, she mentions the Secular Student Alliance with just as much enthusiasm as the multitude of Christian groups.
“What we really want our ministry to be is a hub of religious life on campus and a resource for all students,” Fick said. “We clearly provide Christian worship, but we want anybody to be able to come to us with questions about any kind of worship, and we can work to address those.”
She emphasized a spirit of openness.
“Anyone is welcome,” Fick said. “We’re part of the community – we’ll be at events, we care about students and we care about your lives here.”
This sense of community will serve Pastor Fick well in her ministry here at St. Olaf.
Student Congregation Council SCC Senior Representative Hannah D. Olson ’15 said that SCC is thrilled that Pastor Fick has been installed.
“We are excited to work with her. She and Pastor Matt already seem to make a great team,” Olson said. “She is enthusiastic and fun, and we are all happy to have her join the community.”
For those interested in reaching out to Pastor Fick, conversations with her are completely confidential. Her office is located directly underneath Boe Chapel. Her office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Photo Credit: MATT TYLUTKI/MANITOU MESSENGER