Meta Herrick Carlson '00

Rebekah Peterson

Meta Herrick Carlson has just become a published author!  Ordinary Blessings: Prayers, Poems and Meditations for Everyday Life is collection of poems and blessings to support people in everyday life, whether simple or complex.  The book includes prayers for paying bills, a sleepless night, an apology, loving an animal, resilience and the courage to say no.  “It’s all those little everyday things that God cares deeply about.”

A Warm Welcome

Meta transferred from a Twin Cities suburban public school to Minnehaha Academy when she was in 9th grade.  Like so many middle schoolers, she experienced bullying had a hard time fitting in. “I got off to a rocky start and couldn’t find a way to be myself there.”  MA was the first school that she toured, and she felt warmly accepted and received by the students that she met that day.  She noticed that students had the freedom and flexibility to be themselves. She felt safe and comfortable that day, so she came home and told her parents “there was no need to look anywhere else.”  Meta believed she could be herself at MA. “I could not have asked for a better place to focus on school, try a variety of activities, and over time shed some of that ‘stuff’ that is really hard about being 13-14 years old.” 

Meta liked the size of her class: she knew everyone’s first and last names. She was involved in sports, music, and student government. She had friends across several different groups and took a variety of classes.  “I got to say yes to a lot of different things and embraced being pretty good at a bunch of stuff.  I didn’t feel the pressure to have to be the best.  I learned at MA is that it is OK to do a lot of things, and that you are a lot of things--and I was enough.  That wisdom continues to give freedom to my life.”

Serving in Ministry

After college at St. Olaf, Meta went right to Luther Seminary and received a scholarship for the Master of Divinity Program, the track for ordained ministry. She originally could not see herself in ordained ministry but got excited about being a generalist; “having access to a little bit of everything with a multitude of generations and responsibilities and walking with people in the fullness of their life. That is what I still get to do today.”

While serving congregations, she is part of healthy transformation and positive change from the inside out.  “I can understand and empathize with people who had negative experiences that had broken their trust and relationship with the church and remind them that the Holy Spirit has not given up on them or the church yet--and I am not going to either. I love it and cannot imagine doing anything else.”  She loves to preach, visit people, build connections, and help cultivate meaningful experiences that resonate with a different and deeper time than we are normally living in during the week.  She also loves ritual and helping people understand why we do what we do in church. 

So often, her parishioners needed words for something going on in their life that felt ordinary and maybe the church didn’t have language for it, or they thought God didn’t care about it.  Meta wanted to support people who were going through an everyday thing like grieving, celebrating, or longing for something and looking for the words, so she started writing blessings for ordinary moments. Her book is filled with blessings written for specific people, transitions, and moments in her own life that need blessing. Her book was released on February 11th.  “We need to remind each other that God cares about this stuff. God delights in our everyday lives.  We need ritual for the ordinary to send us into a deeper, richer time than we are living in our busy, fast paced, hectic lives.  I hope my book will help people find words that they didn’t realize they needed.”  You can find the book here: Web: metaherrickcarlson.com. Insta: @metaherrickcarlson

To Fellow Alums

What would Meta say to other alumni?  “I was the last class at MA for whom every hallway that we walked in is gone.  If you are feeling with the Upper School rebuild that this is ‘not your school anymore,’ plan a visit or tour.  Have lunch at one of the many places in the neighborhood that have popped up since you went to school here or eat in the fabulous new cafeteria. Come back to campus and see for yourself.  Everything will look new, but the spirit of the school and what it meant to you still remains.”

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