Kelsey Peterson has been known as the Dancing Pastor since her early teenage years. Her life’s work is based on 1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love, as her focus is helping others experience profound love. When she first began her scholarly research, Kelsey took Youth Ministry scholar Mark Yaconelli’s question, “What is your deepest hope for your youth?” and adapted it to, “What is God’s deepest hope for all of us?” This question deeply informs and transforms all her work as a choreographer, teacher, and children & youth minister. It is from this foundational question that Kelsey discerns her deepest hopes for her dancers, students, youth, children, and parishioners, attempting to align her hopes with those of God. What she has found is that God’s deepest hope for us is profound love and connection, and the growth and transformation that occurs as a result. In all her work, therefore, her guiding question is the same: how can I help people experience profound love in order to deepen their connections with self, with others, and with God?
Outside of dance, yoga, and ministry, Kelsey loves being on the beach or anywhere near water, and loves a good dad-joke. She loves donuts, Seahawks football and Warriors basketball, and believes pints of ice cream are meant to be finished in one sitting.
Kelsey is a minister in the United Church of Christ, approved for ordination pending call, and teaches dance and yoga. In addition to her work, Kelsey has volunteered as an outdoor ministries camp director, chaplain, and counselor at UCC camps in both Washington and California. As a dancer, Kelsey focuses primarily on contemporary modern dance and has performed on stages in Washington, California, and Arizona, including in both the Key Arena and McCaw Hall. Her choreographic work From the Dust was performed at the West regional conference of the American College Dance Festival Association in 2014 and was profiled in Dance Magazine.
Master of Divinity, Pacific School of Religion (2017)
M.F.A. in Dance: Creative Practice with Honors, Saint Mary’s College of California (2016)
Thesis: Prayer in Motion: The Embodied Soul
B.A. Performing Arts, Dance, Saint Mary’s College of California (2014)
Summa Cum Laude; Departmental Honors; Louis LeFevre Award for Outstanding Scholarship as a Performing Arts Major