Arnold R. Mickelson,76, former American Lutheran Church general secretary, died Sept. 22 in Minneapolis. He was instrumental in organizing the ELCA.
Mickelson was ALC general secretary nearly 16 years before becoming coordinator of the Commission for a New Lutheran Church that facilitated the merger of three separate church bodies into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Mickelson's 1966 election as ALC secretary marked the first time a layperson was chosen for one of the church's top general offices. Prior to that he'd served as parish education director and then as president for the ALC Northern Minnesota District.
Mickelson also served as secretary, president and interim general secretary of the Lutheran Council.
A Sept. 1 ceremony in Minneapolis honored Mickelson for distinguished leadership among Lutherans in North America. In a letter for that occasion, ELCA Secretary Lowell G. Almen wrote to him: "I consider myself honored to serve as a successor to you in my role. Your crucial contributions ... helped shape a strategic chapter for Lutherans in the 20th century."
Mickelson is survived by his wife, Marjorie Arveson Mickelson. They were the parents of one son, Richard A. Mickelson, who was fatally injured in April 1998 while he was completing his service as a pastor in Australia.
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