Pastor CJ Valenti

CJ loves being a Lutheran. While the world leaves us so beat up, she really appreciates the Lutheran framework of Grace and the space to wrestle and struggle and ask questions. She works to create worship space that is inclusive, comforts and challenges.  She could not imagine trying to live by faith alone and really appreciates the authentic community Zion offers. While she never imagined being a pastor, this work continues to bring hope and purpose to her life.

Before joining Zion in May 2018, she was the pastor at Salem Lutheran in Dalbo, MN from 2014-2018. Before that she was up north on the prairie at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN. She has a MDIV from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and a BSW from Capital University in Columbus, OH. She is passionate about being outside, working for justice, committed to the lifetime work of learning how to love people and herself. She is a partner to Mike, momma to Theodore and also lives with three ridiculous pets- Robi the dog and Sammie and Bruce the cats in Northeast Minneapolis.

Vicar Jess Olson

Jess is serving as an intern for the next several months and is excited to be at Zion! She is originally from St. Paul – and says she’s never really left.

In her own words…”I grew up a rebel Catholic. Catholic school from pre-K through my Masters in Education at St. Kate’s. But I was always Lutheran at heart. I learned I was a Lutheran when I met my wife, Heather. She’s a cradle ELCA Lutheran from Moorhead, a hospice nurse, writer, introvert, and truly all-around better human than I am.

I have too many flaws to mention but a few of my favorites are:  complaining about the weather year round, eating mostly carbs and watching way too much TV.”

Elizabeth Mitchell

Elizabeth is a Project Assistant at the Lyndale Neighborhood Association. You’ll see her buzzing around the kitchen at Zion on Wednesday afternoons in preparation for the Lyndale Community Dinner. She gladly accepts help for setup, cooking, serving and cleanup.