The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Global mission leader dies

Mark W. Thomsen, 82, the first executive director of ELCA global mission, died Jan. 20 of cancer. He also led the global mission unit of the former American Lutheran Church.

Mark W. Thomsen

“Mark’s visionary leadership provided a strong foundation for the development of the ELCA’s global mission engagement, with a particular emphasis on interfaith relationships, and in opening the division to the gifts and expertise of people of color and language and women,” said Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission. “Mark was a gifted theologian with a passion for the formation of strong leaders deeply rooted in Scripture and totally committed to God’s mission to the world. …”

Thomsen was a missionary in Nigeria for 12 years. He also served as a campus pastor, a college and seminary professor, and pastor of an Iowa congregation.

Following his retirement from the ELCA office in 1996, he joined the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago as director of the Doctor of Philosophy program and Master of Theology studies (1997 to 2006). From 2005-06 he also served as director of the Chicago Center for Global Ministries.


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