Ann Svennungsen

A spirit of change

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Did you feel the winds shift this month? Maybe it was the same wind that inspired Peter’s Pentecost sermon, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” We’ve heard a few more daughters prophesying in synod assemblies around the ELCA this spring. Seven [...]

More family

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen “I need more family.” These are the words of Jira, an adopted African-American teenager, spoken after her father is killed. “I need more family,” she says, to support her newfound desire to find her birth mother. Her story is told in the mini-series The Red Line, a profound glimpse into the [...]

2019-05-28T08:35:57-05:00May 28th, 2019|Categories: From the Bishop|Tags: , , , , |

A 2020 vision for synod assembly

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Under the wonderful theme “In this Together: What the World Needs takes all of Us,” we gathered for our 2019 synod assembly, now visible in the “rearview mirror.” “It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ event for the synod staff, with work beginning for next year even before the current assembly is [...]

Triduum tension

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Where I grew up, we had a festive pie reception after our Maundy Thursday worship. Homemade pies from every kitchen were brought to St. Luke’s and shared with the congregants. Yes, we did the stripping of the altar, symbolizing the abandonment of Jesus and his stripping before the crucifixion. Yes, we [...]

Trustworthy Servants

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen When bishops ordain pastors or consecrate deacons, we ask if they will commit to being an “example in faithful service and holy living.” If their answer is yes, they respond: “I will, and I ask God to help me.” To what, exactly, are they committing themselves? What, exactly, is holy living? [...]

‘A widening gap’

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Everywhere you turn you can find a survey about why young adults aren’t coming to church. I thought I’d conduct my own. In a comprehensive survey of two, I heard: “It’s hard to go to church all by myself,” and “I spend so much time keeping my kids quiet, I leave [...]

Called to empathy

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen What a weekend! On Saturday I was honored to convey the church’s deep gratitude at the funerals of John Nelson and Orval Westby, two pastors who’d been ordained for 63 and 73 years respectively. Seventy-three years! I’d have to live past 2055 to claim that. On Sunday, I was privileged to [...]

We. Are. Fam-i-ly.

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen “My church is like a family!” It’s the most frequent answer I get when I ask what people like about their congregation. “We feel like a family.” There’s much to celebrate in that statement. We imagine families as places of care, deep and ongoing relationships, loving acceptance. “Family is a life [...]

2019-02-04T17:38:25-05:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: From the Bishop|Tags: , , , , , , |

Practicing Justice

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Each of the three congregations I have served included an aspect of social justice or social ministry in my job description. Zion Lutheran in Iowa City, Iowa, had a peace and justice group; Edina Community Lutheran has an expectation of regularly mentioned social issues in the sermons; and at Trinity in [...]

Wrinkled and Reddened

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen More than any time of year, it seems, Christmas is a season for remembering. The sounds, sights, and smells evoke memories of days gone by. I remember singing carols with my cousins on Christmas Eve – all of us jealous that my older brother got the best solo. I remember my [...]

2018-12-18T15:29:04-05:00December 18th, 2018|Categories: From the Bishop|Tags: , , , , , |