Bishop Ann Svennungsen

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 [...]

Gather at the River

The judicatory leaders of four communities will lead a public worship that incarnates concern for our water systems with a focus on drinking water and the spiritual nature of water baptism. Bishop Bruce Ough, United Methodist Conference of Minnesota Presiding Elder Stacy Smith, Fourth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Brian Pryor, [...]

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: , , , , , |

With One Voice

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen Raised in a Lutheran home, I sensed that the biggest stumbling block in Lutheran-Catholic relations was the requirement that, if a Lutheran married a Catholic, all the children had to be raised Catholic. It wasn’t fair (and fairness was next to godliness for us). We were good Lutherans. We could raise [...]

The ministry of consolation

By Bishop Ann Svennungsen It continues to amaze me how clearly I remember the people who attended our son’s funeral in 2015: My brothers’ families from California and Montana who’d just gotten back from their trips to embrace John as he was dying His grade school teacher and principal from Fargo His preschool teacher from [...]