The Rev. Deborah Hutterer has been a member of Board of Directors of Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center since 2013. In June 2018, voting members of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America elected Deborah to be their bishop. She will leave her position as Chief Development Officer for Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest and serve a six-year term as bishop, while continuing as a board member of Spirit in the Desert.
Deborah’s connection with the retreat center began in 2009 when she attended a leadership retreat and came to the surprising conclusion, “this is a holy place.”
When asked what she meant by the powerful word “holy,” she said, “The setting was God’s beautiful High Sonoran Desert, and I experienced warm and welcoming hospitality. I had meaningful conversations with interesting people from across the country, who were focused, as was I, on reflection and personal renewal. I loved it. The whole experience was so special it felt holy.”
She said, “I want to be a part of the Center’s mission of providing a place where a person from any background can safely step away, quietly look within themselves, and leave with a renewed sense of calling for their spot in the world. Our world is difficult for many and brutally traumatic for some. I am confident Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center will continue to be a place of renewal and healing for thousands from all over the world.”
Deborah has had a career of accomplishments beginning with entrepreneurial skills at the age of eighteen when she started a commercial and residential cleaning service. She has worked in the insurance industry, was a public relations associate for Augsburg University in Minneapolis, and served as Augsburg’s coordinator of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. She was also executive director of Faith in the City, a collaboration of Lutheran institutions in Minneapolis-St. Paul contributing to community well being.
Deborah’s interest in helping others find a renewing relationship with God, appeared at a young age; she was in the eighth grade when she told her minister she wanted to be a pastor. In 2004, she finished her theological education with additional training in transformational ministry.
Deborah’s election to the leadership position of bishop is God’s on-going call to her new “spot” to make a difference in the lives of all people. Alongside of her new opportunities, she will continue to provide guidance to Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center.