Bio

The Rev. Joshua N. Sullivan

Joshua is a Christian (in the Lutheran tradition). For a long time he thought he was an atheist. But no, he had it all backwards—absence is presence. Now he is the associate pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

He went to RISD and in 2007 got his BFA in printmaking. Then he went to New York City where he was pretty quickly crushed by the almost comical emptiness and materialism there. But in Brooklyn he also made lots of artwork and music too. He made some great friends as well. At a particularly low point, he read something by Simone Weil and he started praying the Lord’s Prayer again and everything changed.

God called Joshua back to God, back to the organized church, back to that Lutheran place he started as a baptized infant. This made him cry a lot, he didn’t really understand why. Then he went to Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music in 2013 and graduated in 2016.

After seminary, he learned a lot as an intern in a little Lutheran church in Brooklyn and as a vicar in Seattle at a big Lutheran church and a political advocacy non-profit called Faith Action Network of Washington. He learned that tradition is beautiful, but very dangerous. He learned that rejecting it is necessary, but this can also easily lead one astray as well.

Joshua believes strongly that our faith and trust in God alone saves us—that is, it liberates us and makes us fully human. With great power and beauty this trust and humanness will pull us to serve our neighbors, especially those cruelly marginalized in our society because of the intersectional categories of race, gender expression, class, sexuality, disability, or substance use.

In everything he does Joshua hopes to deepen for folks the joy and mystery that God has revealed to all the cosmos in Jesus, the Christ—the perfection and union of spirit and flesh, the gift of forgiveness, and communion with God.

He lives with his wife Madelyn in Philadelphia with their cats Homer and Peter.