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Saint Paul Council of Churches selects Lutheran as new ED

The Rev. Patricia Lull was recently named executive director of the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches, according to Sr. Fran Donnelly, BVM, president of the SPACC board of directors. Lull began her duties on June 13.
Lull is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She has held leadership roles in ministry with young adults, ecumenical engagement, and theological education, according to Donnelly. She replaced the Rev. Grant Abbott, who had been director since 2003. Abbott had previously been the rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul.

The Rev. Patricia Lull; photo provided by the St. Paul Council of Churches

Donnelly said, “When asked why she was drawn to this leadership role with the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches, Patricia responded, ‘On our own, many of us can articulate what’s not going well in our common life, but only by working together can we tap the imagination of the religious community to address the pressing issues of poverty, racism, and peace.
The recession has heightened the challenges facing our metro area. I welcome this opportunity to join with others to see what God will do through us to impact the lives of our neighbors. The values of the council resonate with my deepest, heart-felt commitments about living as a Christian.’”
“Local councils of churches, like St. Paul Area and Greater Minneapolis, serve congregations that are drawn together for common purpose to work in service and on justice,” Lull told Metro Lutheran the morning after being named executive director. She explained that her immediate constituency is the 700 congregations in the east metro area, acknowledging that not all of these congregations are deeply engaged in SPACC.
“And SPACC has a long-standing involvement in ecumenical dialogue,” she said. “The third function,” added Lull, “is for the council to make room for the religious voice to be heard” within society.

The journey to the Council of Churches

Lull grew up in Fremont, Ohio and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the College of Wooster and her Masters of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School.
She served as the pastor of congregations in Michigan and Ohio from 1979-1999. She was also the Lutheran campus pastor for Ohio University, Athens, where she was instrumental in creating an interfaith leadership council on campus and in forming Athens County Habitat for Humanity.
In 1999 Lull accepted a call to serve as the director for Lutheran Campus Ministry in the ELCA. She subsequently moved to the Twin Cities and served as Dean of Students at Luther Seminary in St. Paul from 2001-2010. This past year she served on the campus ministry staff at Augsburg College in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Lull serves as an affiliated pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul. She has participated in programs sponsored by the Saint Paul Interfaith Network and is a regular volunteer with Project Home, projects of SPACC.
So Lull knows what she is getting into. “SPACC provides emergency services, enrichment programs, and wellness programs” for St. Paul area communities. She hopes to see more congregations engage these common projects. “Throughout the summer I will be getting around to visit alot of church people, including many who might not join the council, as well as leaders in new immigrant communities.”

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