More than 100 Lutheran congregations in the east metro area soon will have a new bishop, with this weekend’s election of the Rev. Patricia Lull.
Lull, 61, was the top vote-getter Saturday among seven candidates for the six-year term. She will be the first woman to lead the St. Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the denomination’s second largest.
Lull succeeds the Rev. Peter Rogness, who retires June 30.
She was elected on the fifth ballot at the synod assembly at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, with 226 votes to 215 for the Rev. Lamont Koerner, interim senior pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Stillwater.
The St. Paul Area Synod is one of 65 in the ELCA and counts 107 congregations with 132,000 baptized members. The neighboring Minneapolis Area Synod, with 155 congregations and 188,770 baptized members, has been led by Bishop Ann Svennungsen since 2012.
The ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination in Minnesota and in the nation, has been led by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton since last summer.
Lull has been executive director of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches since 2011. She also has served on the ministry staff at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, as dean of students at Luther Seminary in St. Paul for 10 years and as director for campus ministry for the ELCA.
Ordained in 1979, Lull is a graduate of Yale Divinity School.
Lull assumes office July 1 and will be installed at Roseville Lutheran Church on Aug. 24.
The 68-year-old Rogness, first elected St. Paul bishop in 2002, comes from a long line of Lutheran faith leaders. His father, Alvin, was president of Luther Seminary from 1954 to ’74. His uncle David Preus served from 1973 to ’87 as president of the American Lutheran Church, a predecessor to the ELCA.
His grandfather, O.J.H. Preus, was president of the Eastern District of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America from 1926 to ’29 and was president of Augustana College from 1929 to ’32 and Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, from 1932 to ’48.