Welcome New DDH Scholars

August 5, 2021 -  

Justin Carlson, Marissa Ilnitzki, and Charlie Platt enter the MDiv program this fall as Disciples Divinity House Scholars. They will be joined by new ecumenical and interfaith residents.

Justin Carlson seeks to infuse congregations with a deepened understanding of how ideas and practices of embodiment manifest in different traditions. “As a Disciple, I had been brought up constantly hearing the refrain that all are welcome at the table. Physically excluding people from the church during times when they need community support the most seems so contrary to what I understand to be the core of Christianity: building a community where all can share their gifts.” He grew up in First Christian Church in Minneapolis, where he remains very active. In the Upper Midwest Region, he has served in the camp program and on the search committee for the new regional minister. He is a 2012 graduate of Carleton College, where he majored in Music. He is presently a legal editor for the State of Minnesota’s Office of the Revisor of Statues. He is the Oreon E. Scott Entering Scholar.

Marissa Ilnitzki is the second recipient of the new Martin Family Scholarship, which recognizes promise for leadership. She is a 2017 graduate of Georgetown University where she majored in sociology and minored in environmental studies. After graduation she gained experiences in community leadership, wilderness education, and social services in Washington State with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at the Pascal Sherman Indian School, on the staff of the Lutheran retreat center Holden Village, and as a family support specialist in Seattle. Raised Roman Catholic, her journey to ministry has been nourished by women leaders in United Methodist, ELCA, and UCC churches. She reflects, “The table of communion has been extended to me throughout my life. The ability to be a Disciples Divinity House Scholar would give me the connections to create my own table of welcome.” 

Charlie Platt is the William N. Weaver Entering Scholar. He earned a MSW from the University of Minnesota (2020) and a BA from St. Olaf College, where he graduated cum laude in 2016 with majors in social work and religion. Currently a therapist at the Boynton Mental Health Clinic at the University of Minnesota, he brings social work experience in church, educational, and community settings, and he has served as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps at Holden Village and of Macalester Plymouth UCC in St. Paul. “My experiences have shown me how participating in community and spiritual experiences have an essential place in the flourishing of all human lives. Being a leader in shaping these experiences is a core part of my vocation.” During his year as a case manager at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter in Chicago, he participated in Root and Branch Church, which provided a model and mentors for Disciples ministry.