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About Bishop Mark S. Hanson...
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Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Born in Minneapolis on Dec. 2, 1946, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1964, and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Augsburg College in 1968. He was a Rockefeller Fellow at Union Theological Seminary from 1968 to 1969, received a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1972, and attended Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., from 1973 to 1974. He was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard University Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., in 1979.

Following his ordination in 1974, Hanson served as pastor at Prince of Glory Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, from 1973 to 1979; Edina Community Lutheran Church, Edina, Minn., from 1979 to 1988; and University Lutheran Church of Hope, Minneapolis, from 1988 to 1995. He was elected bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1995, and had been reelected to a second term as synodical bishop prior to his election as presiding bishop of the ELCA in 2001.

While serving the Saint Paul Area Synod, Hanson was president of the Minnesota Council of Churches from 1998-2000, and was vice chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.

In 2003, Hanson was elected president of the Lutheran World Federation, a role which he serves concurrently with his role as ELCA presiding bishop. He serves on the executive council on the executive board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Hanson is author of Faithful Yet Changing: The Church in Challenging Times (Augsburg Fortress Books), published in 2002.

His wife, Ione (Agrimson) Hanson, is a licensed social worker. Before the Hansons moved to Chicago, she was director of social work at Minneapolis and St. Paul Children's Hospitals. The Hansons are the parents of Aaron, Alyssa, Rachel, Ezra, Isaac and Elizabeth, and grandparents to Naomi.