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News Release: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Calls New Senior Pastor
3/26/2012 10:38 PM


Lisa Hannum
612 272 0544
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Calls New Senior Pastor

Pastor Bradley Schmeling Selected to Lead St. Paul’s
Largest Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Congregation

     St. Paul, Minn. (March 27, 2012) — The congregation of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church has voted overwhelmingly to call Pastor Bradley Schmeling as its new senior pastor. He will join the Gloria Dei pastoral staff in mid June, according to Claire Hoyum, congregation council president.

     “Pastor Schmeling is an extraordinary pastor and an ideal match for our congregation’s needs,” Hoyum said. “He is humble and compassionate and a gifted preacher, with a passion for social justice. He is an equally gifted administrator and leader, essential qualities for a pastor leading a large congregation.” Gloria Dei has about 2,300 members and is the city of St. Paul’s largest Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation.

     Pastor Schmeling is currently serving at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta. “I was drawn to Gloria Dei’s vibrant congregation and its genuine sense of welcoming, hospitality and desire for outreach to the world,” Schmeling said. “I feel a deep kinship with the congregation’s desire to retain a strong liturgical tradition while strengthening its reach into the community – especially to those who live on the margins of society.”

     Gloria Dei partnered with the Saint Paul Area Synod to manage the year-long call process. “The Synod identified an excellent candidate roster and made our job really difficult – in a good way,” said Raja David, Gloria Dei’s call committee chair. “The people of Gloria Dei told the committee what type of pastor we needed, and Pastor Bradley aligns with those needs in every way. We are honored by his acceptance of our congregation’s call.”

     Pastor Schmeling has served since 2000 as pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Atlanta. He also is adjunct professor of liturgical practice at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (2006 – present). From 1989 to 1995, he was pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church, Columbus, and from 1999 to 2000 was chapel director at Emory University’s Office of the Chapel and Religious Life.
     Pastor Schmeling is a native of Ohio. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, Athens, and his master of divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus. He also has completed doctorate studies (all but dissertation) in liturgy/pastoral care/Christian formation at Emory University.

     He is a member of the ELCA Southeastern Synod council and vice president of the board of directors for Intown Collaborative Ministries, an Atlanta organization that serves the homeless. Pastor Schmeling and his partner Pastor Darin Easler are active supporters of Lutherans Concerned, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and the Human Rights Campaign.

     Pastor Schmeling succeeds Pastor M. Susan Peterson, who retired in August 2010 after 25 years of ministry at Gloria Dei. Pastor Peterson was called to Gloria Dei as an associate pastor in 1985. She was called to be the church’s senior pastor in 1990, marking the first time a woman had led an ELCA congregation with more than 1,000 members. The Reverend Doctor John Mann has served as interim senior pastor since Pastor Peterson’s retirement.

About Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

     Gloria Dei, located at 700 South Snelling Ave., is the largest ELCA church in the city of St. Paul with about 2,300 members. The church was founded in 1908 as a mission established by First Lutheran Church of St. Paul, the first Lutheran congregation to take root in Minnesota territory. The church was originally located in a small building at Victoria Street and Hague Avenue in St. Paul. It moved to its current location in 1951.

     Gloria Dei’s mission is to be a caring, healing and welcoming community that proclaims and celebrates the love of Jesus Christ, lives as God’s servants and seeks justice for all people. The church has many ministries and programs in support of its mission. It is also a Reconciling In Christ congregation that believes the gospel is God’s gift to all people to be shared unconditionally — without regard to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or family status, or physical or mental abilities. For more information visit