Childhood calling fulfilled: New LCSNW Board Member goes into full-time ministry

by | Jul 7, 2023 | Uncategorized

When people enter their 50s and advance toward their 60s, many start turning their thoughts to retirement. Not Carla Spaccarotelli. She embarked on a new education, a new career and the fulfillment of a calling she’s felt since childhood. She recently completed her training to be a Minister and Hospital Chaplain.

Carla also accepted an invitation to join the LCS Northwest Board of Directors. We’re delighted that she sees LCSNW as a good fit for this new season of life.

“I’m not an expert in any of it, but I have a heart for all of it,” Carla said of LCSNW’s wide range of human-service programs in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Carla started working this spring as a Chaplain at Providence St. Peter Hospital, splitting time between medical campuses in Olympia and Centralia. She’s also a Luther Seminary graduate (with a Master of Divinity degree) and a soon-to-be-ordained Minister of Word and Service (also known as a Deacon) for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She served for the past year as the Interim Minister for Pastoral Care at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia.

Carla clearly remembers how God gave her a heart to care for others when she was growing up through acts of service and hospitality. such as visiting nursing home residents in her small South Dakota hometown. “Even as a young girl, I felt a call to ministry,” she said. “In my 40s, someone reflected that I have responded to that call in every way that had been available to me.”

As a young adult, she served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, then worked for the Peace Corps public affairs office in San Francisco. In the late 1990s, she moved to Seattle, married, mothered four boys, and worked in nonprofit and higher education communications, marketing and fundraising. In 2011, the family moved to Olympia.

A nudge from her husband, Chris, nearly 10 years ago convinced Carla that she had unfinished business: to minister to people in need as her full-time vocation. “I walked into St. Peter Hospital and said I wanted to be a Chaplain. I’m just glad they didn’t laugh me out of the room,” she recalled. “But through their chaplain training program, I quickly reconnected with that moment in my childhood when I felt the call. It was so life-giving, the whole process.”

Today, after years juggling Seminary and Chaplain training, work and parenting, Carla has realized her aspiration. In her role at the hospital, she connects with people of all faiths, or no faith tradition, around issues of meaning, hope and transcendence that can be more pronounced during illness, injury, trauma, birth and death.
Joining the LCSNW Board aligns with the values she holds dear; she specifically mentioned our services to vulnerable populations such as seniors, refugees, people with acute mental health needs, and victims of sexual assault.

“Carla is a terrific addition to the Board,” said David Duea, LCSNW President and CEO. “She’s a great resource as we become a more trauma-informed organization, because being responsive and compassionate to people experiencing trauma is what a Chaplain does every day.”