Pastor Susan Kirlin-Hackett (she/her)

Pastor of Care

Role at Messiah

Susan’s area of ministry at Messiah is titled Pastor of Care and Welcome.  The very good news of her position is that Messiah has a well-established and valued group of folks ~ the Care Team ~ that have faithfully tended Messiah’s members.  She anticipates their wisdom will provide insight as she seeks to offer pastoral care to members and friends of the congregation.  In these times that find folks socially distant, it is more apparent that people are longing to be remembered and appreciated.  Over the course of her 34 years of parish ministry, pastoral visitation/care has been a source of energy and deep satisfaction.


Susan grew up in Gardena, CA and Orange, CA ~ both suburbs of Los Angeles.  Her elementary years were at Faith Lutheran School where she was the valedictorian of her eighth grade…out of a class of only 11 students!  Gardena was a great place to grow up with lots of kids in the neighborhood to play hide ‘n seek, tag, and bike ride.  The move to Orange, CA, meant a big change from Lutheran school to public school.  And it provided a sometimes confusing look into the lives of folks who saw the world differently.  Public school gave Susan the opportunity to make friends with others of various faith traditions that challenged and confirmed her own faith.  It is that opportunity that has shaped her parish ministry.


Susan attended California State University in Long Beach, CA.  It is a campus that is gorgeous in the spring with blossoming cherry trees.  And, it is close to the warm Pacific ocean. So the school’s nickname is “The Beach.”  She majored in Speech Communication with a Communication Theory emphasis.  Following graduation, Susan attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA.  The seminary is one of ten seminaries that form the Graduate Theological Union.  It is an ecumenical setting/education that is exciting and relevant as the ELCA seeks to establish partnerships with other traditions to serve the world.

Fun Facts

Susan is married to Bill Kirlin-Hackett (yup, they both have hyphenated names!).  And they have one son, Micah.  Micah is married to Ale and they have two sons, ages 7 and 2.  She LOVES being a grandmother and they live close enough that she gets to see them every week.  How lucky is that !?!  She likes to garden, iron weekly, and share cooking and house cleaning with Bill.  Susan and Bill walk their dog, Jack, every day.  Jack is a 14-year-old Lab who is slowing down but becomes magically agile when offered a bone.  Up under Training, she mentioned that her alma mater is near the warm Pacific ocean ~ they definitely miss the opportunity to swim in warm ocean water BUT don’t miss SoCal crowdedness.  She does yoga 3-4 times a week and is looking forward to resuming her lap swimming at the local gym.