Bishop Jon V. Anderson

2011 Covenant Award Presentation

Pastor Jon V. Anderson, Bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA, is being recognized for significant contributions to the life and growth of both Gustavus Adolphus College and the Church, as an active collaborator with the College to the Southwestern Minnesota Synod office and with congregations, and most notably for his strong leadership as chairperson of the Faith Task Force during Commission Gustavus 150 (2008-2009). With a philosophy of looking at all people and situations from the angle of appreciation, he skillfully provided a needed link between Gustavus and congregations regarding how best the College can serve congregations, and what assets or collaborations the congregations might provide for Gustavus.

As leader of the Commission Gustavus 150 Task Force on Faith, he worked to create the foundation for the future direction and priorities of the college in the area of faith. Questions of how Gustavus can be both authentically rooted in our Christian Lutheran tradition and authentically inclusive of other faiths and traditions were at the heart of the conversations. His leadership was instrumental in the success of the work of the Task Force. He has also served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees (2003-present).

President Jack Ohle will present the 2011 Covenant Award to Bishop Jon V. Anderson on April 9 at the Association of Congregations annual meeting.

Born in Glenwood, Minnesota, Anderson’s faith was deepened at his home congregation, Crow River Lutheran Church, and serving several summers at Green Lake Lutheran Ministries and Lutheran Outdoors of the Southwest in Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf, then went on to earn a Master of Divinity at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Subsequently, he served an internship at Faith Lutheran Church, Dickinson, TX, and following ordination was installed as Associate Pastor of Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. In 1991, he returned to Minnesota, as Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in St. Cloud (1991-1996), then took the position of Lead Pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Ulm (1996-2003). He was elected bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA in September 2003 and again in 2009.

As Bishop, he has served as an active collaborator with the College to the Southwest Minnesota Synod Office and with congregations. According to the person who nominated him for this award, “Bishop Jon has been living out the core values of Gustavus (excellence, community, faith, justice, service) in his daily work and in the initiatives he supports, including his participation in the dialog around environmental issues and poverty, providing nurturing and safe environments for children, discussing how to support issues relating to immigration, and how congregations can be a part of disaster recovery efforts.” He values the role Gustavus plays in the Synod, the ELCA, and in the world.

Bishop Anderson has served in other areas of the churchwide organization, including: the St. Louis Youth Gathering Design Team; Discipleship Task Force; Partner in Christian Education; member of the Evangelism Task Force; and a member of Discipleship and Core Teams.

Bishop Jon and his wife Robyn reside in New Ulm. They have three children: Laura, Sean and Caity. Anderson enjoys growing things in his garden, reading, exploring technology, and working out on the racquetball court.

Since 1991, the Covenant Award has been bestowed annually in recognition and celebration of the efforts of individuals who have made distinctive contributions toward strengthening the partnership between Gustavus Adolphus College and member congregations of the Association of Congregations. Alumni, pastors, Association delegates, faculty, staff, and students of the College are eligible for the award.

Anderson has selected Gustavus Youth Outreach, a student-led program in which student volunteers share fun and faith with youth in area congregations, as this year’s beneficiary of the Covenant Award. This financial gift is intended to offer the means for the recipient to further reinforce the mission of the Association of Congregations on the Gustavus campus.