Pastor Stephanie Espinoza is a Minnesota native. Prior to returning to her home state, she traveled the world and has a love for the global community. After high school, she was an exchange student in France. Then went to Augsburg College in Minneapolis and studied abroad in Thailand. She graduated with a BA in Youth and Family Ministry.
Pastor Stephanie went to seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, while teaching first and second grade at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The best experience of her life was her yearlong seminary internship in Nome, Alaska. She has a deep love for the Inuit people and their tremendous faith.
Her first call was through ELCA Global Mission. She first went to Guatemala to study Spanish and then spent four years in Guapiles, Costa Rica. In Guapiles, Pastor Stephanie started a new faith community of many children and youth. She also served as pastor to four other congregation within rural banana and pineapple plantations. Pastor Stephanie met her husband, Jorge, in Costa Rica. He had already served in a Franciscan religious order for 13 years before becoming a pastor in the Lutheran Church in Costa Rica. The two were married in the Costa Rican rainforest at the church camp.
Pastor Stephanie and Pastor Jorge then moved to the United States and served a bilingual congregation together in Illinois. Pastor Stephanie most recently comes to us from serving as the Director for Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop in the Rocky Mountain Synod, where she worked with new and immigrant communities of faith.
Pastor Stephanie and Pastor Jorge have two children, Simon and Scarlett. They live on a 140 acre farm that is being developed into a nature center, where Pastor Jorge works bi-vocationally. They love to go on hikes, look for berries and care for all God’s critters!
Pastor Stephanie is beyond excited to be a part of the next chapter at Cross of Peace, where God is calling us to something new!