2023 Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker

The Rev. Dr. Barb Rossing will be the keynote speaker for our 2023 Synod Assembly on Saturday, May 13. In line with the assembly theme of "Living in Hope," she will remind us of reasons to live in hope even in the face of climate change.


Dr. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. She loves to teach and preach about the Bible, including the Bible’s role in public life. An avid environmentalist, Dr. Rossing is involved with environmental initiatives at the seminary. She received a B.A. degree from Carleton College, a master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and a doctor of theology degree from Harvard University.


She served as pastor of a congregation in Minnesota, director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center in Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School. Dr. Rossing has lectured and preached widely, including synod assemblies and global mission events for the ELCA as well as ecumenical theological conferences. She has served on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation (2003-2010), and chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee.


As a public theologian, her media appearances have included CBS' Sixty Minutes as well as The History Channel, National Geographic, Living the Questions, and numerous print and radio interviews. Learn more about Dr. Rossing.

Churchwide Representative

Louise Johnson is the churchwide representative for 2023 Synod Assembly

Pastor Louise N. Johnson serves as the assistant to the presiding bishop/executive for administration of the ELCA. Prior to her work with the ELCA, she served as a director for LEAD, a leadership development nonprofit. Pastor Johnson also served as the fourteenth president of Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, where she led the seminary to its largest fundraising and enrollment years in the history of the school.


Pastor Johnson has served in a variety of roles at Wartburg, as well as the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. She has served congregations as both a pastor and a youth ministry worker. Pastor Johnson is a native of Akron, Ohio, and attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. She earned a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Seminary in 1999. She has a Certificate in Leadership and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She continues to teach, speak and consult in change leadership in church organizations.


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