Lutheran Services in America Welcomes New Theologian in Residence

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Phyllis AndersonOn January 1, 2015, Lutheran Services in America (LSA) welcomes a new Theologian in Residence, Dr. Phyllis Anderson.

Dr. Anderson served as president of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary from 2005 through 2013, the first woman to serve as president of a Lutheran seminary in the United States, and now has the role of President Emerita. 

An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Dr. Anderson has served as pastor of a rural parish in Iowa, as assistant to the Bishop of the Iowa District, as Director of Pastoral Studies and Assistant Professor of Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and as the first Director for Theological Education in the ELCA though its first ten years. In this capacity she led the ELCA Study of Theological Education from 1989-1995, which resulted in the creation of the Fund for Leaders in Mission, First Call Theological Education, and a system of clusters for coordination among the seminaries. She also served as Associate Dean for Ecumenical Studies at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry.

She holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University; a Masters in Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary; and a Ph.D. from Aquinas Institute of Theology. She is married to the Rev. Dr. Herbert Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  

The Theologian in Residence works closely with the Board of Directors to connect the work of the Board with Lutheran theological insights, encouraging the Board to think and act faithfully and be guided and directed by God, and serves as a pastor to the Board, respecting the pan-Lutheran nature of the work of LSA. The Theologian in Residence inspires and energizes the Board in their work, spurring us to be bold in pursuing our mission.

For the period 2013-2014, the role of the Theologian in Residence has been served by Rev. Dr. R. Reed Lessing, Senior Pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. LSA thanks Dr. Lessing for his Lutheran leadership and is deeply appreciative of his service, counsel and contributions to Lutheran social ministry.

About Lutheran Services in America: Lutheran Services in America (LSA) is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 Americans each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit