Pastor Larson is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served in three countries – a rural two-point parish in Alberta (2 years) and an inter-Lutheran and ecumenical campus ministry at The University of Alberta in Canada (11 years); the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva’s English-speaking Congregation in Switzerland (15 years); and a large suburban congregation near Chicago in the USA (8 years)
He is a dual US and Canadian citizen who graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA (B.A. in History and English); Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.Div.); and St Stephen’s College in Edmonton, AB (D.Min. in Liturgy and Social Justice).
Pastor Larson has a long history of involvement with the Lutheran World Federation, World Student Christian Federation and World Council of Churches. He was a youth advisor to the LWF Fifth Assembly in Evian, France; delegate to the WSCF 26th Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; head steward at the LWF Seventh Assembly in Budapest; participant in the Living Letters visit to Indonesia and the women’s gathering in Harare for the WCC Ecumenical Decade Churches in Solidarity with Women.
During his Canadian years he was the Worship and Music Coordinator for the Western Canada Synod, a resource person at numerous inter-Lutheran worship and music conferences, coordinated the introduction of Lutheran Book of Worship in the four western provinces and was an adjunct professor of worship at St Stephen’s College. He has been a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy since 1985 and is co-author of Liturgy, Justice and the Reign of God: Integrating Vision and Practice. He has written for a variety of worship and preaching journals.
During his Swiss years he served as vice-president and president of the Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East. He led retreats for the International Protestant Church in Zurich, NATO chaplains in Lahr, Germany and ecumenical pastors in south India. With the encouragement of the ELCG outreach concern group he volunteered to write and record weekly reflections on Radio 74 in an attempt to provide an alternative theological perspective through that station. In 2000, St Stephen’s College in Edmonton awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
Stephen is married to Rebecca (Voigts) Larson, Deputy General Secretary of the ACT Alliance. They met as university students involved in the LWF World Encounter of Lutheran Youth (in Latin America where Rebecca was hosted by George and Emese Posfay in Caracas, Venezuela) and the LWF Fifth Assembly in Evian, France. (During that 1970 Assembly, they attended worship at the ELCG for the first time.) They have two daughters, Katie and Sarah, who were both confirmed at the ELCG. Katie is married to Lawrence Wiliford and is an associate professor of English at the University of Toronto in Canada; Sarah is married to Shane Moldenhauer and most recently served as Deputy Program Director for the International Rescue Committee in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. They now make their temporary home in Chicago with their infant son, Aaron, who was born on 30 December 2012 – Stephen and Rebecca’s first grandchild.
Music and choir director
Terry MacArthur grew up singing in the state of Michigan in the United States. For seven years he was a United Methodist pastor there. For 12 years he was the worship consultant for the World Council of Churches as a United Methodist missionary, during which time he also directed the ELCG choir. He loves songs for worship from all over the world and he invites us to sing along as he weaves music and prayer into creative liturgy themes for our worship services.
Ministers of music
Andrew Donaldson, Koko Taylor and Terry MacArthur.