MJ Irvin-Stellabotte

Dear Siblings in Christ,

Grace and peace to you! I look forward to meeting you in person but until we are able to do so safely, here are some brief details that will help you get to know me. My name is Marty Jo Irvin-Stellabotte (she/her/hers) and I go by MJ – it was my childhood nickname and is short and easier to remember! I am a student at United Lutheran Seminary and look forward to serving alongside you as your vicar for the next year prior to my graduation in 2021.

I was raised and currently live in Altoona, a small town with approximately 50,000 residents in south central PA that’s part of the Allegheny Synod (and the home of Sheetz and Blair Candy). I live there with my husband Tim, our 14 year-old daughter Morgan, who just completed eighth grade, and our black lab and four cats.

Before starting seminary in 2017, I worked in the fields of fundraising, public relations, and marketing. My last full-time position was Director of Mission Advancement at a Lutheran social ministries organization that provides multi- generational care and services throughout an eight-county region. I also worked at Penn State University, where I served as an assistant director of development and alumni relations, and as an adjunct communications instructor. I am an alumna of Penn State University with a BA in Journalism/Communications and an MBA from Saint Francis University.

For the past three years, I have worked part-time as a church secretary in an ELCA congregation in my hometown, and also briefly worked as the Communications Coordinator for our Synod office. I’ve been an authorized lay worship leader in our synod for several years and supply preach at many of the congregations in our area, where I enjoy sharing the love of our Lord Jesus with my siblings in Christ.

For as long as I can remember, involvement in a faith community has been a significant part of my life and my faith formation. As an only child, I attended church every Sunday with my parents and was active in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and youth group, where I learned Bible stories and how much Jesus loved me. I grew up in a non-denominational faith practice and joined the Lutheran Church 16 years ago after we were married. My family and I have been actively involved in our home congregation since joining, and it was after I discovered God’s love and grace for each one of us and became involved as a lay worship leader and active within the life of the Synod that I began to discern my sense of call to ministry.

I have seen first-hand how the Holy Spirit continues to shape my faith and accompany me through this journey. I look forward to sharing the love of Christ with each of you and throughout our community during my internship!

In my spare time, I love to read, listen to live music, cook, go to the beach, and enjoy time with my family. During the pandemic, I’ve especially enjoyed watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Rookie,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” and “Messiah” – and many other shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. While most of my reading over the past few years has been for school, I’m currently enjoying “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and next on the list is “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.

Tim, Morgan and I love hopping in the car and going for a drive, whether it’s to check out a state park or a unique place to eat, so I definitely look forward to your suggestions on fun things we can do in Carlisle and nearby!

May God continue to bless you and keep you safe,

Vicar MJ