The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Chilstrom by the book

Formation of a leader, a church

Whether the importance of history comes from literary giant Oscar Wilde ("Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it") or baseball player Yogi Berra ("If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there") its instructiveness helps us look behind and ahead.

So it is with the just-released autobiography of Herbert W. Chilstrom, the first presiding bishop of the ELCA. A Journey of Grace: The Formation of a Leader and a Church (University Lutheran Press, 2011) describes how Chilstrom grappled with issues ranging from his career as a pastor, as bishop of the Minnesota Synod of the former Lutheran Church in America and as ELCA presiding bishop, to the church's dealings with gay pastors, budget-cutting and ecumenical relationships.

Book coverHe also shares accounts of his family life, including the role of his wife, Corinne, also a pastor; the tragedy of their son Andrew's death; and the impact of his developmentally challenged brother, David.

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