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Nadia Bolz-Weber

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Nadia Bolz-Weber
Nadia Bolz

(1969-04-22) April 22, 1969 (age 55)
SpouseMatthew Bolz-Weber (1996–2016)
ChurchEvangelical Lutheran Church in America
WritingsPastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, Shameless: A Sexual Reformation
Congregations served
House for All Sinners and Saints

Nadia Bolz-Weber (born April 22, 1969) is an American author, Lutheran minister and public theologian. She served as the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Denver, Colorado, until July 8, 2018.[1]

Bolz-Weber is known for her unusual approach to reaching others through her church.[2] She has produced work in the church that scholar and writer Diana Butler Bass considers part of "a new Reformation".[3]



Bolz-Weber was born as Nadia Bolz and grew up in Colorado Springs in a fundamentalist Christian family.[4]

Bolz-Weber began to acquire tattoos in 1986 at age 17. Those present on her arms mark the liturgical year and the story of the Gospel. She attended Pepperdine University briefly before dropping out and then moving to Denver.[5] She says that she became an alcoholic and drug abuser and often felt like one of "society's outsiders".

By 1991, Bolz-Weber became sober and, as of 2020, has remained so for 28 years.[4] Prior to her ordination, she was a stand-up comedian and worked in the restaurant industry.[6]

Bolz-Weber felt called to service in 2004 when she was asked to eulogize a friend who had died by suicide.[7] In 2008, Bolz-Weber was ordained as a pastor.[6] She started her own church, the House for All Sinners and Saints, the name of which is often shortened to just 'House.'[7] One third of her church is part of the LGBT community, and she also has a "Minister of Fabulousness", Stuart, who is a drag queen.[5] Her church is also very welcoming to people with drug addiction, depression, and even those who are not believers of her faith.[8] Bolz-Weber spends nearly twenty hours each week writing her weekly ten-minute sermon.[6]

Bolz-Weber speaks at conferences across the world.[9][7] She has given talks about how faith and feminism co-exist.[10] As a feminist, in 2018 she called for women to send her their purity rings, to be melted down into a sculpture of a vulva which she regarded as representing the healing of the psychic damage induced by the 1990s purity movement.[11][12] At the Makers conference on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2019, Bolz-Weber gave the sculpture to American feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem.[12]

On August 20, 2021, Bolz-Weber was called by the ELCA’s Rocky Mountain Synod and installed as that denomination's first Pastor of Public Witness, in a ceremony where the synod's bishop, Jim Gonia, gave the installation address.[13]

Personal life


In 1996, she married Matthew Weber, a Lutheran pastor.[14] They had met after she left a conservative form of Christianity and while Weber was a Lutheran seminary student.[15] Getting to know Weber was what initially brought her to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The couple had two kids: Judah and Harper.[16]

As of 2013, Bolz-Weber had been married to Matthew Weber for 17 years.[7][needs update] However, in 2016, Bolz-Weber divorced her husband after two decades.[17] Rod Dreher criticized her for being publicly open that the lack of physical intimacy was a major reason for the divorce and that shortly afterwards she began an intense sexual relationship with a former boyfriend that she likened to exfoliation.[18] These and other aspects of her personal life were documented in her 2019 book, Shameless.[19]


  • Salvation on the Small Screen?: 24 Hours of Christian Television. New York : Seabury Books, 2008. ISBN 9781596270862, OCLC 221174864
  • Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of A Sinner and Saint. New York ; Boston ; Nashville : Jericho Books, 2014. ISBN 9781455527076, OCLC 868044878
  • Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People. Convergent, 2016. ISBN 9781601427564, OCLC 934193175
  • Shameless: A Sexual Reformation. Convergent Books, January 2019. ISBN 978-1601427588, OCLC 1035435905.


  1. ^ Suderman, Brenda (October 1, 2013). "Sinner and a Saint: Tattoos on the Arms, Curse Words on the Lips and a Story of Grace". Winnipeg Free Press. p. D15. Retrieved August 6, 2022. Call her cranky, call her a sinner, but please don't call Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber 'pastrix'.
  2. ^ Green, Emma (September 3, 2015). "Why Every Church Needs a Drag Queen". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  3. ^ Sentilles, Sarah (March 5, 2012). "My Take: Five Women In Religion to Watch". CNN. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  4. ^ a b O'Connor, Colleen (September 10, 2015). "Nadia Bolz-Weber, Tattooed 'Pastrix,' Ministers to Sinners and Saints". The Denver Post. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Little, Jane (July 6, 2015). "Nadia Bolz Weber: A Pastor For America's Outsiders". BBC News. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Draper, Electa (April 23, 2011). "Pastor turns heads by blending tradition and irreverence: Guided by Resurrection, and a dose of insurrection". Denver Post. Denver, Colorado: Digital First Media. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Boorstein, Michelle (November 3, 2013). "Bolz-Weber's Liberal, Foulmouthed Articulation of Christianity Speaks to Fed-up Believers". Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2022. It was going through anti-addiction recovery that finally soothed her anger. Her encounter with a tall, cute, Lutheran seminary student named Matthew Weber brought her back to church. They married in 1996 and have two children.
  8. ^ Gross, Terry (September 17, 2015). "Lutheran Minister Preaches A Gospel Of Love To Junkies, Drag Queens And Outsiders". NPR. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Preyss, Jennifer. "Revelations: Nontraditional 'Pastrix' preaches to reporter", Victoria Advocate (TX) October 11, 2013
  10. ^ Jones, Nona; Bolz-Weber, Nadia; Herrmann, Laura & Al-Khatahtbeh, Amani (2019). "FaithMAKERS: Can Faith and Feminism Coexist?". MAKERS.com. 2019 MAKERS Conference. Archived from the original (interview transcript) on July 6, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Mouser, Jessica (November 29, 2018). "Pastor to Make Controversial Sculpture Out of Purity Rings". Church Leaders.
  12. ^ a b Kuruvilla, Carol (February 14, 2019). "Feminist Pastor Unveils Vulva Sculpture Made of Old Purity Rings". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  13. ^ Miller, Emily McFarlan (September 6, 2021). "Nadia Bolz-Weber Installed as ELCA's First Pastor of Public Witness". The Christian Century. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  14. ^ Griswold, Eliza (February 8, 2019). "The Lutheran Pastor Calling for a Sexual Reformation". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  15. ^ Bolz-Weber, Nadia (December 7, 2011). "Matthew 25: How I Met My Husband". Sojourners. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  16. ^ Griswold, Eliza (February 8, 2019). "The Lutheran Pastor Calling for a Sexual Reformation". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  17. ^ Griswold, Eliza (February 8, 2019). "The Lutheran Pastor Calling for a Sexual Reformation". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  18. ^ Dreher, Rod (February 11, 2019). "Sex & The Single Pastor". The American Conservative. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  19. ^ Dreher, Rod (February 11, 2019). "Sex & The Single Pastor". The American Conservative. Retrieved June 3, 2024.

Further reading