Pastor Carol Tomer, Pilgrim's Lead Pastor, has served at Pilgrim since December 28, 1998, following earlier pastoral positions at the International Church of Stockholm (Sweden), Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Gethsemane Lutheran Church (Seattle, WA), and Holden Village (Chelan, WA). A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Pastor Tomer's degrees are from Luther College and Harvard Divinity School (where she was awarded second place in Billings Prize Competition in Preaching), with additional study at Luther Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.
Before ordination, Pastor Tomer taught at Golden Valley Lutheran College, served on the staff of American Lutheran Church Women (coordinating the Woman to Woman program, of global woman church leaders visiting ALC districts), was a campus minister at University Lutheran Church at Michigan State University, was special assistant to the Director of Radcliffe College Career Services, and did her seminary internship at St. Olaf College and St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN. She has done research on alternative Christian communities in Scotland and England, chaired the Synod Worship Committee of the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA, and has served on the Board of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Planning Team for the 2004 ELCA Clergywomen Head of Staff Academy, the training team for the new ELCA Worship Book in the Saint Paul Area Synod, and the St. Olaf College Church Relations Advisory Board. She has been Co-President of the Lutheran Network for Inclusive Vision, President of the board of Lutheran Campus Ministry of Minnesota, dean (for 6 years) of the South Central Conference of the Saint Paul Area Synod, as well as serving on the Saint Paul Area Synod Council and Synod Executive Committee, the Synod Consultation Committee, the board of the Minnesota chapter of Interfaith Power and Light (formerly Congregations Caring for Creation), the Wisdom Ways Celtic Soul Advisory Circle, and as a member for over 25 years of the Luther College Alumni Board. She currently serves on the Luther College Twin Cities Lunch Connection Planning Team, the Nominating Committee of the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Saint Paul Area Synod Mission Strategy Committee, and the Board of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.
In recent years, she has written "Images for Preaching" in the Augsburg Fortress resource Sundays and Seasons, and a few articles for Lutheran Women Today, including a piece titled "Act Boldly in Contemplation" in the March 2006 issue. She is the recipient of a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment, in support of her own sabbatical as well as the congregation's renewal, and was chosen for a "Writing and the Pastoral Life" week at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. She was the chief "architect" of the two Worship Renewal Grants that Pilgrim received in 2002 and 2003/04 from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and was a co-leader of the team representing Pilgrim in its selection for and participation in the Yale Congregations Project. Her interests in contextually-based creative liturgical design have included arranging eucharistic settings for particular festivals and seasons and being co-creator of the Celtic and Nordic contemplative evening services, as well as Nordic Morning Prayer, offered at Pilgrim. For several years, she has created a "Faith Goes to the Movies" Epiphany Sermon Series, connecting current movies to the appointed scripture texts, and recently created the “Faith Goes on a Local Pilgrimage” Summer Sermon Series. She regularly leads pilgrimage groups to the Iona Community in Scotland (led the fourth group in summer, 2016) and to Holden Village in Washington State. She feels blessed to serve a congregation with the mission of being "a home for hungry minds and souls," for she has a special commitment to those who live prophetically, yet with some sense of exile, at the edge of the Christian tradition. Some of her other joys include singing (she sang with the Weston Noble Alumni Choir, summer, 2015), flute playing, dancing, hiking, traveling, and always, shared laughter!