To the people of Zion Lutheran,

Greetings in Jesus name! I cannot express how excited I am to be with you this next year learning from you and growing with you. I simply cannot wait to arrive in Bridgeville and begin our work together spreading the good news of our gracious Lord. I have much to learn and many areas in which to grow, and I look forward to going through this process with you. My family and I were simply floored by the reception we received after service here in St. Louis. We enjoyed the great company, the discussions about this next year, and of course the gift of chocolates!

I’d like to let you know some basic information about myself before we get to know each other better this year. I was born in July of 1992 in Cleveland, Ohio and baptized shortly afterward. While living in and around Cleveland my family and I were members of Faith Lutheran Church in Mentor, Ohio. Both of my parents were intent on teaching me the faith and assuring me daily of the great love that Jesus has for me, and from a young age I had always said that I wanted to be a pastor. When I was 12 years old we moved to Medina, Ohio and were members of Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church (LCMS) there. Confirmation class at Prince of Peace was an incredible experience for me, because I was able to ask all the questions I had ever had about the Bible and doctrine, and my teachers bore with me and graciously answered. From confirmation class onward, I began to make preparations for a future in the office of the ministry. 

After High School, I attended Concordia University- Ann Arbor for 3 years. I received my bachelor’s degree in Family Life Ministry- Church Work and also completed the course work in the pre-seminary program. At Concordia I also met the love of my life, Mary. We began dating two weeks into my time at Concordia, were engaged nine months later, and were married on June 15, 2013. She has a beautiful Mezzo-Soprano voice and is extremely kind and compassionate. I couldn’t ask for a better partner to go with on this journey. My years at Concordia were formative from a theological standpoint as I learned the biblical languages, foundational doctrine, and had opportunities for leadership on campus. They were also formative as Mary and I fell in love, learning to make sacrifices for each other and to bear with one another through struggles. Following our marriage, I did a one year internship at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, working with youth and families there. During this year Mary also became pregnant with our daughter Hannah, who is now 20 months old. Being a father is so incredible, and reminds me much of the experience of falling in love with my wife, as both Mary and I sacrifice for Hannah, marvel at her, and want to spend every little bit of time we can get with her.

10 days after Mary and Hannah were released from the hospital after Hannah’s birth in August 2014, we moved to St. Louis to begin our seminary experience. We have been overwhelmed at the blessings both personal, spiritual, and academic at Concordia Seminary. The seminary community is a wonderful support system for new parents away from family. It has been a pleasure to learn under the wise and learned leadership of my seminary professors, and I feel very at home in the academic setting. At Seminary I also became heavily involved in the “Life Team”, specifically with prayer and sidewalk counseling outside the abortion clinic here in St. Louis. Life ministry is extremely important to me. I also have gained a good deal of practical experience through the field work program and my field work congregation, Holy Cross in O’Fallon Missouri. I have been blessed by the fellowship of that congregation and the opportunity to further grow in preaching and teaching under the fantastic pastors there.  

I am sure we will be in communication between now and when I arrive at your congregation. We will have another wonderful blessing from God in tow with our second child, Joseph, who is due on June 19th. Until then, you all will be in the prayers of my family, and my anticipation will continue to rise as I wait to meet all of you. “Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing of Zion Lutheran. We ask that you bless and keep them as they await our arrival. Grant that this vicarage would be beneficial to us and to the congregation but mostly that your Word would be proclaimed in its’ fullness. In Jesus name, Amen.”

In Christ, The Strong Word of God,
Joshua Ulm