Thursday, January 6, 2011

Advocate for Full Inclusion and Staunch Ally, Former Bishop Paul Egertson Died January 5

Rev. Paul Egertson
(Photo by Transguyjay
Paul Egertson died suddenly yesterday afternoon, January 5, 2011, in his home in Thousand Oaks, California. Egertson, staunch ally and advocate for full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the church, had championed the ordination of LGBT candidates for ministry and an end to the policies and practices of the church that relegated LGBT people to a second-class.

While bishop of the ELCA Southwest California Synod, he participated in the 2001 ordination of Pastor Anita C. Hill of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. For this act, he subsequently resigned his position as bishop, and tirelessly advocated for the policy change that finally occurred as a result of the decisions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

Egertson was awarded the Jim Siefkes Justice-Maker Award by Lutherans Concerned for his efforts on behalf of LGBT Lutherans.

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned, said, "Paul Egertson stood up for us and in opposition to the discrimination of the church against us when that was neither popular nor safe. His witness to Christ's redemptive grace and his commitment to helping the church see the error of its position are a shining beacon of prophetic righteousness in the face of determined opposition -- and he did it with grace and eloquence, as befits a follower of Christ. He was a friend and mentor -- always available, with words of calming wisdom. He made a profound difference. He will be missed."

Paul Egertson, born in 1935, is survived by his wife, Shirley, also a Siefkes award recipient, and their 6 sons. Funeral arrangements will be communicated as soon as they are known.

Phil Soucy
Communications Staff


  1. Peace to the Egertson family. Thanks be to God for the life of Bishop Paul.

  2. Our Heavenly Father has called one of His most Faithful Servants home. I am shocked because I had heard nothing about Paul being ill. My deepest felt sympathy goes out to Paul's family. Paul always made me feel I was a friend and welcomed me as such.

    The Reverend and Professor Paul Egertson and I met very soon after the ELCA was established. I served as a member of what is now Pacifica Synod and on the Commission For Church in Society. The issues of racism and inclusivity came under our list of responsibilities. Almost immediately we had to address Gay/Lesbian issues and Paul was there to support our resolutions brought by the Gay/Lesbian Taskforce of then the South West Synod. Paul was then professor at Cal. Lutheran.

    Our paths would converge often at conferences and at services. I often played for services at St. Matthews when Lutherans Concerned Los Angeles had services and Paul would be preaching or in attendance. Lutheranism and Lutherans Concerned North America have lost their most devoted ally. It will be hard to attend an ELCA event and not see the smiling countenance of our friend, Bishop Paul Egertson.

    James P Tyler Jr

  3. Sad. I remember him from my time at CLU. Peace to his family and the CLU community.


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