United celebrates 2020 Distinguished Alum Todd Lippert! Since his graduation in 2003, Todd has lived into United’s missional values and a commitment to the Common Good through ministry to United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as public service as a Minnesota state lawmaker.
Karen Smith Sellers (‘76, ‘13), a current trustee on the United Board, nominated Todd. She says, “Todd models brilliantly the ways in which a graduate theological education at United Seminary prepares one for effective leadership in diverse sectors."
Todd’s recent congregational ministry includes serving as the Senior Minister at First United Church of Christ (Northfield, MN) from 2012 to 2020, prior to his current call at Mayflower United Church of Christ (Minneapolis, MN) as a Community Minister. He has also served the wider UCC as chair of the CUE Seminaries committee and as a member of the Minnesota Conference UCC Board of Directors.
His colleague at Mayflower, Rev. Sarah Campbell (‘89), says of Todd, “I was stunned by his artful public speaking. Since then, I’ve witnessed him speaking on the floor of the Minnesota House—speaking, persuading, convincing his colleagues, even as a first-year representative. We are going to see more of Lippert in the years ahead—his pastoral listening across the aisle, but also his effectively moving legislation and culture towards a more caring economy in our state, for the earth, and the less powerful. UTS, you taught Rev. Lippert the gospel well!”
As a Minnesota state representative, Todd serves Northfield, MN and surrounding areas (District 20B). He holds leadership roles in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) caucus as Assistant Majority Leader and Vice Chair of the Long-Term Care Division. Todd also sits on a diverse set of committees, providing the opportunity for him to best represent his district and all Minnesotans: the Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee, Behavioral Health Policy Division, Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, and Environmental and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee.
Todd’s work at the state capitol began years prior to his being elected to office. As an active member of the faith-based organizing group ISAIAH, he worked with the immigrant community to advocate for their needs through policy proposals and coalition-building.
About his legislative and advocacy work, Todd says, “I got involved in politics because I believe in the Common Good. Good for a few is not good enough. I am a person of faith. I follow the great commandment: Love God by loving our neighbor. We need to see ourselves in our neighbors and realize there is more that unites us than divides us. We are in this together, and to solve our greatest challenges we will need to come together in new ways.
“My goal is to make our government work for everyone. Our Common Good campaign affirms the dignity and value of every one. It challenges all of us to create a Minnesota where everyone is thriving, everyone has enough, and everyone has the opportunities they need. Working together we can direct resources to children and families. We can create a healthcare system that is affordable and available to everyone, and we can respond to climate change while creating economic opportunities.”
Todd is exemplary of the many ways in which United’s theological education prepares students to be effective leaders in any number of settings. A pastor, a politician, a public servant -- no matter the official title or role, Todd tends to the needs of his community in service to the Common Good.
Join us in celebrating and congratulating Todd as this year’s Distinguished Alum!