The Northern Great Lakes Synod
Lutheran Christians in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northeastern Wisconsin gather together in communities of faith for worship and ministry. Walking together are the 82 congregations, 115 pastors and 27,500 Lutherans of the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
This Synod is one of 65 in the ELCA. The 9,500 congregations of the ELCA comprise 3.9 million baptized members.
In 1987, the latest in a series of Lutheran church mergers created the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS), encompassing the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the six adjacent counties in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Immigrants from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and other European nations began the Lutheran ministry in this Synod area almost 150 years ago.
The oldest continuous congregation in the Synod is Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, Michigan, founded in 1867.
Spreading the Gospel, the Synod, in the past 25 years, has embraced a new mission start at prince of Peace Lutheran Church is Eagle River, Wisconsin, as well as Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Copper Harbor, Michigan. Other vibrant Synod ministries include the Lay School for Mission and our Companion Synod program. The Eastern and Coastal Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and the Northern Great Lakes Synod are connected in the Gospel.
The Synod’s institutional partners include Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp in Crystal Falls, Michigan; Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan; and Northland Lutheran Retirement Community in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Other partners include Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan and Lutheran Campus Ministry at Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Michigan Technological University in Houghton.
The Bishops of the Northern Great Lakes Synod
The Rev. Harry S. Andersen was the first Bishop to serve the NGLS from 1987-91. A native of Marquette, Nebraska, Andersen graduated from the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. His first call was in Marlette, Juhl, and Brown City, Michigan. After nine years at St. Stephen’s in Chicago, Illinois, Andersen went on to administrative work in the Wisconsin LCA Synod and then became the NGLS’s first Bishop in Marquette, Michigan. Bishop Emeritus Andersen and his wife, Dorothy, have retired to Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin, and are members of Ascension Lutheran in nearby Minocqua.
The Rev. Dale Skogman served as the second Bishop of the NGLS from 1991-99. After attending Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, Skogman graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology on Chicago’s Rock Island campus. Skogman served four parishes in his 26 years as pastor: the two-point parish of Grace in South Range, Michigan and Our Savior’s in Atlantic Mine, Michigan for 6 years; First Lutheran of Gladstone, Michigan for 5 years; Holy Communion of Racine, Wisconsin for 9 years; and Mt. Zion of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin for 6 years. He and his wife, Jo, are retired in Gladstone, Michigan.
The Rev. Thomas Skrenes was elected the third Bishop of the NGLS in 1999. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Skrenes received his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He served Trinity Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, Michigan from 1980-93. In 1993, Skrenes received the Call to become Assistant to Bishop Dale Skogman. He was elected Bishop at the NGLS Synod Assembly in 1999 and re-elected in 2011. He and his wife, Luanne, a nurse, live in Ishpeming. They have four sons.