Ann Svennungsen was elected in 2012 to a six-year term as bishop by the Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly, making her the first woman to serve as bishop in any of the ELCA’s six Minnesota synods. Rev. Svennungsen has been a leader in congregations and church-‐related organizations for over 30 years. Following graduation from seminary in 1981, she pastored congregations in Iowa City, Iowa and Edina, Minnesota. In 1996, she became senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, Minnesota, a 3,700-‐member congregation and, at the time, the largest ELCA congregation to be led by a female senior pastor. In 2003, Svennungsen was named president of The Fund for Theological Education, a national, ecumenical organization devoted to raising up the next generation of excellent and diverse ministers and scholars. From 2007 to 2010, Svennungsen served as president of Texas Lutheran University where she led development of a comprehensive new strategic plan. Most recently, she was interim college pastor at St. Olaf College and held an appointment as Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at Saint John’s University.
Svennungsen also founded and serves as director of The Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty—a fiscally sponsored project of Bolder Giving inviting university presidents to pledge a percent of their annual income to combat global poverty—a moral and public commitment intended to inspire greater giving and resolve among leaders in universities and other sectors. This work echoes the ELCA’s deep commitment to “faith in action,” including efforts to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide.