Building the church for tomorrow

A conversation with the ELCA campaign’s steering committee chairs By Erin Strybis

Living Lutheran: How did you get involved in The Campaign for the ELCA? Loren: The way most of us get involved is that

we’re asked! MaryAnn: That’s a really key point in this.

Bishop Emeritus Mark S. Hanson came to us and asked. … We said “yes” because we were asked and, secondly, because we have a deep commitment to and gratitude for this church in our life and the life of our family going forward. Loren: I thought the cause was right. This is

about building leaders, building congregations, and doing our global and international work. There are things we do best if we come at them as a national and international church. MaryAnn: I think that’s at the heart of this

[campaign]—what we can do together. We can do so much more as a church together.

MaryAnn and Loren Anderson, co-chairs of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA steering committee.

MaryAnn and Loren Anderson believe “there isn’t anyone who doesn’t want a church vibrant, alive, synergistic and abundant for their children and grandchildren to be a part of.” That’s one reason why the lifelong Lutherans and members of Mount Olivet Lutheran, Minneapolis, have dedicated their lives in service to the church. MaryAnn, an executive coach and facilitator,

has worked in philanthropy for several Lutheran institutions and serves as a leader in a number of philanthropic organizations. Loren, now co-director of the Thrivent Fellows program, an executive search consultant and managing partner of JDL Farms, was president of Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., from 1992 to 2012. Together they co-chair the steering committee of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA, now entering its fifth and final year. Living Lutheran caught up with the couple

for their insights on this work and what lies ahead.

26 JANUARY 2018

What has surprised you most about working on this campaign? Loren: In some ways ... when I think about it, not

much has surprised us, partially because back in the ’80s we were deeply involved in the last national campaign for the [American Lutheran Church, a predecessor of the ELCA]. … We’d seen the great stories that have come out of it—incredible stories of the commitment of faith. MaryAnn: That’s the miraculous gift of this

campaign—people coming together in new ways. … The other thing that we’re cognizant of is that we’re planting seeds for the next hundred years. The work of this campaign will not be over when the artificial construct says this will conclude. It’s the beginning of what we can do together … for the sake of God’s world. Loren:And who knew that we were going to have

this terrible season of storms and hurricanes—and that the people of this church would step up and contribute $13 million over a couple months? … That’s part of the stewardship story of our church. The people of our church have just incredible capacity, and when a need is presented [they] respond. MaryAnn:We keep discovering this at every turn:

This is a church of abundance. This is a people of abundance. … Our church is richly blessed.

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