Rev. Paul D. Erickson
The Rev. Paul D. Erickson was elected June 4, 2016 to a six-year term as bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
“I’m excited and hopeful about our future as we continue the work of establishing vibrant faith communities committed to working with God in the establishment of a more just, peaceful and compassionate world,” Erickson said. “The Greater Milwaukee Synod has a strong history of creative and faithful ministry, and I look forward to finding out what God has in store for us all as this next chapter unfolds.”
Erickson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., in 1983 and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1989. He also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Congregational Mission and Leadership from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2012.
He returns to the Greater Milwaukee Synod from St. Paul, where he served as the director of Agora, a ministry that works to develop lay leaders for immigrant and multicultural congregations in Minnesota and South Dakota. Erickson grew up in the Greater Milwaukee Synod, where he was a member of St. Matthew’s in Wauwatosa and Bethel in Muskego. From 1993-2003, he served as pastor of Faith/Santa Fe Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, and he was later called as Assistant to the Bishop for Evangelical Mission in the Saint Paul Area Synod, where he served with Bishop Peter Rogness (a former bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod) from 2008-2014. He has also served at congregations in Chicago, Ill. and West St. Paul, Minn.
“I have a passion for God’s church, God’s people, and God’s world, and I love exploring new places and finding new ways to connect with others,” Erickson wrote in response to a question about the gifts he would bring as synod bishop. “I love to sing, teach, preach, and laugh, and I try to use my gifts in a way that creates a space in which others can be their best selves.”
Erickson speaks of his deep love of the ELCA and of the global church, and notes that he has spent much of his ministry working in cross-cultural settings. He also points out the need to find new ways to move forward together as the church, despite our comfort with more familiar approaches to ministry.
Paul and his wife, Lynn (an ELCA pastor serving in West St. Paul, Minn.), have two children: David, 20, and Sarah, 16.