Pastor Erik Karlson

Reverend Erik Karlson grew up in southeastern Connecticut and graduated from Newtown High School in 1992. He headed off to Penn State University to study International Politics, but withdrew in his junior year and enlisted in the United States Navy in October of 1994. He served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) for nearly three and a half years. Reverend Karlson was Honorably Discharged as a Second-Class Petty Officer in October 1998 and received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement and Good Conduct Service Medals. He returned to Penn State in January of 1999, graduated in the summer of 2000, and then went into Finance.


Erik enjoyed a very successful career as a sales and marketing professional with a leading insurance carrier where he welcomed traveling and public speaking engagements with his fellow professionals. He found his niche with a sales team as a Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor employed in Stamford, CT, Boston, MA, and Santa Barbara, CA. In each community where he lived, Erik served on various church councils, committees, and youth ministry teams.



In the summer of 2012, Pastor Erik left the business world and began his studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN to earn a Master of Divinity degree and become a pastor. His studies led him to a two-year staff position at a local congregation where he was a senior high youth minister. Erik served as Intern Pastor in a yearlong internship for a two-point congregation in southeastern rural North Dakota. Reverend Karlson graduated from Luther Seminary in December 2015. In January 2016, Reverend Karlson was called as Pastor of the Neighbors in Christ Parish located in Gibbon and Winthrop, MN and ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament soon thereafter.

Reverend Karlson enjoys spending time with his wife, Pastor Amy Karlson of First Lutheran Church in Hector, MN. They were married in October 2015 and made their home, with their dog Deuce, in Hector. Revs. Erik and Amy were blessed with twins Emma and Andrew on New Year’s Eve of 2016. Erik enjoys a good movie, travel, anything Red Sox or New England Patriots related, and high school sports. Reverend Karlson is very excited that he is about to begin his fourth year at Neighbors in Christ and looks forward to many, many years in the ministry wherever God calls him.