About Our Pastor

Pastor Monica

Born and raised in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding suburbs, Pastor Monica Villarreal was called to serve Salem Lutheran Church in July 2011. Graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a specialization in Peace & Justice Studies and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago with a concentration in Urban Ministry, she is now earning a Master’s of Social Work in Organization and Community Leadership from Michigan State University.

Pastor Monica was surprised by God’s call to return to her hometown of Flint. Marveling at God’s amazing grace, with her passion for multicultural ministry and social justice; Salem is the perfect congregation that is daring enough to reach beyond the walls of the church and into the lives of their neighbors.

As a community leader, Pastor Monica serves on several community boards and as a field instructor for social work students.   A leading voice and organizer during the Flint Water Crisis, Pastor Monica’s leadership has strengthened the impact of Salem’s ministry to rebuild the city of Flint and restore hope to residents of Flint who struggle to meet basic needs.  Her motto: We never wait for the government to do what we as the people of God are called to do.

Inspired by the radical love of Jesus who welcomes all into the life-giving spirit of community, Pastor Monica enjoys building collaborative partnerships with a wide variety of faith traditions. As a recent member of the Greater Flint Interfaith Council, Salem has become known as a place that works collaboratively for the betterment of society.

She serves as the Steering Member for North America to the Lutheran World Federation’s Global Young Reformers Network. With this program she has traveled to Wittenberg, Germany and Geneva Switzerland. She is also a voting member representing the ELCA to the Lutheran World Federation’s 2017 Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia. She is also on the ELCA’s Planning Team for the observance of 500 years of Reformation.   

Favorite Bible Passages: Isaiah 58:9-12; Luke 4:16-21; Revelation 22:1-5