Paul Erickson elected bishop of ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod

CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Paul D. Erickson, West St. Paul, Minn., was elected June 4 to a six-year term as bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the synod assembly June 2-4 at the Tarble Arena at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.

Erickson was elected on the fifth ballot with 190 votes to 165 votes for the Rev. Lisa Bates-Froiland, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.

“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 ELCA 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.”

Since 2014 Erickson has served as director of Agora in St. Paul, Minn., a ministry that helps develop lay leaders for immigrant and multicultural congregations in Minnesota and South Dakota. He was assistant to the bishop for evangelical mission in the Saint Paul Area Synod from 2008 to 2014.

The bishop-elect earned a Bachelor of Arts 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. Erickson earned a Doctor of Ministry in congregation mission and leadership from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2012. Adolphus Gustavus is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities. The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Luther are two of eight ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Jeff Barrow, current bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, has served one six-year term and will retire this summer.

Erickson will be installed as bishop Saturday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, Wis.

Information about the Greater Milwaukee Synod is available at

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Bp Jeff Barrow & Bp-elect Paul Erickson

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

**Nathan Gafkjen is an Intern for the Strategic Communications team of the ELCA. He is a 2016 graduate of Valparaiso (Ind.) University, with a Bachelor of Arts in theology and ministry and a minor in communications.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877 or
Living Lutheran: