David Olson named interim bishop of ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod
The synod council of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) appointed the Rev. David W. Olson to serve as interim bishop of the synod, effective February 4, 2008. Olson is the former bishop of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod and is now retired from active ministry.
Olson, 69, will assume the role of interim bishop from the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, who left to become executive director of ELCA Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission in Chicago. He will serve until a permanent successor to Bouman is elected at the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod assembly in May.
Olson said he is excited to serve “in a great, urban synod,” where there is wide diversity with 17 different languages represented. The synod includes significant metropolitan area congregations similar to Minneapolis. Olson told Metro Lutheran, “People of many ethnicities are scattered through the synod. Many church members and leaders are part of ethnic communities under some sort of stress.” He will emphasize the metropolitan theme of New York, underscoring that established congregations and fast-growing immigrant congregations share a common future.
Olson said his first priority as interim bishop will be “to help the synod in the election process so that the new bishop can be successful.” Part of that process includes giving an opportunity for pastors and lay people to express their thoughts about the key issues before the synod.
Olson served as bishop of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod from 1987 to 2001. He was ineligible for re-election because of the synod’s term limit for bishops. “I may be a bit rusty, but the ideas come back. Hopefully it’s still the right way to do ministry,” laughed Olson.
Olson and his wife, Nancy, now reside in Clinton, Connecticut. They are parents of three adult children.