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  • Faith: Christianity
  • Profession: General Superintendent of the Church of Nazarene
  • Lived: 1961 -
  • Nationality: American
  • Known for: Church of Nazarene General Superintendent
  • Fun Fact: Carla Sunberg worked as a registered nurse.
  • Fun Fact: Sunberg served as a missionary in Moscow, Russia.
  • Fun Fact: 
Carla D. Sunberg is an American ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, administrator, academic, author, speaker, former missionary, and registered nurse. She is the second woman elected as a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene, and she was the first woman and tenth person elected as president of Nazarene Theological Seminary.

At the time of her election on January 3, 2014, Sunberg was co-District Superintendent, with her husband Charles H. “Chuck” Sunberg, of the East Ohio District of the Church of the Nazarene, having served in this role since November 1, 2011. Dr. Sunberg was elected the 43rd General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene on the 11th ballot. She was selected by the delegates of the 29th General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene on June 27, 2017.

Early Life and Education

Carla Dawn Johnson was born on July 1, 1961, in Bad Homburg, West Germany, the fourth child and only daughter of Rev. Jerald DeWight Johnson and Alice Eva Schmidt. Schmidt was a pioneer missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in West Germany from 1958 to 1969. Sunberg is the younger sister of the late Jerald DeWight Johnson, Jr.

After graduation from MidAmerica Nazarene University in May 1983, Sunberg became a registered nurse and worked in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. For three years, from 1983, Sunberg worked as a nurse in St. Louis, Missouri, while her husband Chuck was an associate pastor of the Southwest Church of the Nazarene. In 1986, Chuck accepted a call to serve as the senior pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in Austin, Texas, while Carla continued nursing until 1992. While in Austin, Carla and her husband had two daughters.

Church of the Nazarene

From July 1992 to 2005, Sunberg and her husband Charles and their two daughters lived in Moscow, where they were pioneer missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene in the former Soviet Union that resulted in the establishment of the Church of the Nazarene in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Their responsibilities involved giving leadership to more than 60 ministries, including leading Russian Nazarenes in starting churches, compassionate ministry centers, and clergy education centers.

In this period, her husband was field director from 1993-2005, while Sunberg served initially as Director of Compassionate Ministries from 1992 to 2002. Later, she served as the Director of Theological Education from 2002 to 2005 for the Nazarene Church on the CIS Field. When the Sunbergs left Russia in 2005, the CIS Field had 50 churches in four districts in six nations. As Director of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in the CIS Field, Sunberg used her training and experience as a registered nurse.

Under the patronages of NAZCOM, a Nazarene humanitarian aid organization working in Russia, in 1996, Sunberg and other nurses from American Nazarene colleges developed a four-module program for continuing education for medical personnel. Sunberg and these guest lecturers taught two-week nursing education modules in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. NASSCOM also worked with Heart to Heart, a Kansas-based Christian organization founded by Nazarene doctor Gary Morsch, helping this group distribute millions of dollars worth of medication throughout the former Soviet Union.

In 2002, Sunberg was appointed as the director for theological education for the CIS field and was responsible for establishing a religious education and training system for 250 students in the former Soviet Union. By 2013, the CIS Nazarene Education Centers offered the following academic programs: Certificate in Christian Service, Certificate in Spiritual Formation, Diploma in Bible and Theology, and Diploma in Bible and Mission, through its affiliation with European Nazarene College in Busingen, Germany. As Director of Theological Education for the CIS, Sunberg was also a member of the Eurasia Region of the Church of the Nazarene’s regional course of study committee and the education council.

Sunberg's Books

Sunberg is the author, with Gene Van Note, of “Faxes from Russia,” which outlined the opening of the Church of the Nazarene in Russia. Additionally, Sunberg is the author of numerous articles for publications like Holiness Today, Grow Magazine, and Reflecting God Magazine. Since September 2009, Sunberg has written: “Reflecting the Image,” a daily blog. In March 2014, Sunberg’s latest book, “Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God,” co-written with Suzanne Burden and Jamie Wright, will be released by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.

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