October 17, 2020 Walker, Minnesota — The Rev. Amy Odgren was installed as bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at a service on Saturday held at Hope Lutheran Church, Walker. She is the fourth bishop of the synod and succeeds Bishop Thomas Aitken who is retiring after serving two six-year terms. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presided and preached. Other participants included The Rev. Matt McWaters, pastor of Hope Lutheran, ELCA Bishops Thomas Aitken, Regina Hassanally, and Laurie Skow-Anderson, and the Rt. Rev. Craig Loya, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.
Bishop Odgren previously served as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission for the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. Ordained in 2001, she is a graduate of Warburg Theological Seminary, one of seven ELCA seminaries, and she completed a B.A. in education and psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. Bishop Odgren also served as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission for the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, and as pastor of Spirit Lutheran and First Lutheran, Eau Claire, and Bridge of Life Lutheran, Holmen, all in Wisconsin.
Concerning her role as bishop, Bishop Odgren said “I see our principal challenge as engaging this culture as evangelists who share the gospel of Jesus in ways that will make a difference in the world. I think a bishop needs to listen extensively, pray often, and be bold to move the vision of the kingdom forward. And through this all, I trust in God’s resurrecting grace that keeps working and setting us free to love and serve.”
The Northeastern Minnesota Synod is one of six ELCA synods in Minnesota and 65 nationwide. Comprised of 130 ELCA congregations with about 55,000 members, it is one of the largest ELCA synods geographically, stretching from Princeton in the south to International Falls in the north, Brainerd in the west to Hovland in the northeast. Bishops are elected to six-year terms and may serve two terms.