Deaconess Betsy Karkan

University Deaconess

In my personal life I can see how this creative, saving, and sustaining work of God has been clearly evident from my baptism into Christ through to my calling as a deaconess. I can honestly say that I see my work here as a calling and not a job, and I consider myself blessed to be here.

Not only do I get to serve the Lord where He has sent me and work with wonderful students, but also I am daily thankful for the opportunity to serve with Pastor Leininger and the other wonderful faculty and staff we have at the university. As Pastor Leininger’s ministry assistant, I am kept busy helping him carry out his responsibilities as Dean of Chapel, Student Led Campus Ministries Advisor, Pre-Seminary Director and Church Relations ambassador.

As a deaconess, a mentor and a friend, I get a chance to connect with our students in many different ways. My activities with students vary widely, but I love the opportunities I have to chat over coffee, worship together in chapel, travel on mission trips or participate in service to our community. I have seen the Lord work in students' lives through trials and triumphs, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have to be a part of their spiritual growth during their time at Concordia-Chicago.


Deaconess Betsy Karkan serves the Concordia University Chicago community as the Ministry Assistant to the Campus Pastor. Born and raised in Ohio, she grew up in the small town of South Solon with her parents and four siblings. She attended elementary school and then was homeschooled along with her two younger brothers until college. While growing up, her family was very involved in service to their community and church which proved to have a significant impact in her life.

Feeling called to pursue a vocation as a professional church worker, she transferred to Concordia-Chicago in 2005 from community college in order to study theology and deaconess ministry. During her years as a student at Concordia-Chicago she was active in Student Led Campus Ministries, Residence Life, the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, and was part of the Westfield House study abroad program in Cambridge, England. She graduated from Concordia-Chicago in 2008 with a B.A. in theology before beginning a 2-year deaconess internship in Thailand as a missionary with LCMS World Mission and the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation-Thailand. She has been on staff at Concordia-Chicago since 2010, and is looking forward to many more years of service.