Donna and her wife doing yardwork outside the church.
Pastor Donna Simon is a Midwesterner by birth (and temperament), though she has spent much of her life on the West Coast. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University (English Literature) and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.
Pastor Donna was called into the ministry from a volunteer position as church youth director at Messiah Lutheran Church, Redwood City, California. While attending seminary, she came out as a lesbian. Because the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America did not allow the ordination of openly gay and lesbian candidates, she joined the roster of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries, now known as Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. In 2016, she earned her Doctorate of Ministry from Luther Seminar in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 2000, Abiding Peace Lutheran Church extended a call to Simon. She was ordained on October 28, 2000. The ELCA changed its policy in 2009, and Pastor Donna joined the ELCA roster on October 28, 2010. In 2011, Abiding Peace merged with the congregations of St. Mark Lutheran and Fountain of Hope Lutheran, and Donna became the pastor of St. Mark Hope and Peace.
Donna enjoys hiking, reading, camping, fishing, retreats, cooking, movies, writing, and activism. She serves on the board of the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, the Mark Youth and Community Center, and the Workers' Rights Board of Kansas City Jobs with Justice. She works half-time as the Director of Evangelical Mission for the Central States Synod, where she shepherds congregations under formation and accompanies congregations undergoing renewal.
Pastor Donna lives with her wife and their son, as well as three beloved dogs and three cherished cats.
Left: Donna and her papillon, Izzy.
Right: Donna at a rally for Fight for 15 in Des Moines.