Endorsements

  • …wonderful – fabulous – bring Anna back again – finally someone relevant – powerful – can’t wait to check out OMG! – such a breath of fresh air – group discussion was such a new format for this synod, we are better for it.

    - Participants at Western Iowa Synod Fall Theological Conference, Spirit Lake, IA

  • Dr. Anna Madsen spoke to our gathering of staff workers from congregations. It was a joy to watch her engage some of our deepest thinking pastors while also speaking in a way that also connected to janitors, worship leaders and support staff. In her work she both lifts up the tradition and challenges our thought about it to invite us to see God’s presence and work in the sorrows and joys of life. There is a joy and honesty in her teaching and proclamation that is quite fruitful.

    - Bishop Jon Anderson at Go(o)d Questions, Redwood Falls, MN

  • Thank you so much for your willingness to be the presenter at the Eastern North Dakota Synod Fall Theological Conference. Since it was your first time gathering with the rostered leaders of our synod, there was sense of curiosity and anticipation concerning you and the message you would bring. I am delighted to say the rostered leaders are using words such as intelligent, thought-provoking, engaging, humorous, authentic and contextual to describe you and your presentations. Since our time together, I have had a number of rostered leaders tell me you were ‘just what they needed’ and are still ‘thinking deeply about the conversations.’ Job well done, good and faithful servant! My hope and prayer is you will continue to equip, challenge and engage the leaders of this church. You are pure gift. I want to remind you of the parting words I spoke to you upon the conclusion of our conference, ‘you arrived as our presenter, but left as our friend.’ Already I am being asked, ‘when will Anna return?’ Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    - Bishop Terry Brandt, Eastern North Dakota Synod at The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be, Detroit Lakes, MN

  • We were so thankful to have Anna as our adult Bible study speaker for family camp this summer. Her down to earth presentation style was interesting and engaging for both clergy and lay folks. One participant commented that ‘Her mind was blown’ and ‘She was so thankful she came to the week because she had learned so much.

    - Rev. Tracy Polzin, Director of Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp at God’s Time, our Time, Fortune Lake, MI

  • Anna Madsen was a delightful speaker. Her topic was ‘Radical Grace.’ She knew her subject well and was the best speaker we had ever had for our Women’s Retreat. I would love to have her back again. Anna kept us all engaged in the topic and sent us away with a feeling of ‘Radical Grace”’ from God like we have never known.

    - Carolyn Champagne, St. Stephen Lutheran Church at Radical Grace, Daytona Beach Shores, FL

  • Anna Madsen recently was guest speaker at our Women’s retreat. Her talks were not only engaging but thought provoking and inspiring. Her grasp of theology and its relevance in our lives today was enlightening. I wished she would have had more time to share her knowledge and wisdom.

    - Adrienne Barton, St. Stephen Lutheran Church at Radical Grace, Daytona Beach Shores, FL

  • Her’s is a theology born of unspeakable tragedy, death and the risky and treacherous work of building new life. In many respects what she does resembles the witness of our newly resurrected Lord; who encourages his friend Thomas to touch his wounded body. The holy silence that I have always imagined occurring at that moment filled our assembly hall after Dr. Madsen’s final presentation, on a Saturday morning, in a room filled with Synod delegates itching to get home. Moses took his shoes off, we applauded and applauded and applauded.

    - Pastor Bill Pierce, IL at Promise, Prayer, and Pentecost, Springfield, IL

  • Anna provided an evening of ‘Conversation and Questions’ for Lutheran Campus Ministry Students in North Dakota, a conversation that continued throughout the 3-hour drive home (and beyond) for our campus group. Her ability to articulate theological process invites and encourages good conversation about God and real life; her integrity in valuing the questions, even when answers prove elusive and “out-of-easy-reach” resonates with students who are searching for their own language to recognize and/or reconcile faith and life; and her honesty about the reality of pain and struggle in the midst of faithful living offers credibility and hope for those looking to move forward in faith into the future. Thank you, Anna!

    - Pastor Dan Heath, University Lutheran Center, Fargo, North Dakota at Change…the Church…and Lutheran Theology!, Bismark, ND

  • Dr. Anna Madsen was a delightful presenter at the Northwestern Ohio Synod Rostered Leaders’ Retreat. Hers is a theology of the cross (and resurrection!) that is grounded in academic depth, poignant life experiences, pastoral practice and a willingness to engage with the hard questions of faith and life. The “extra bonus” is that her presentations reflect a playful wit and sense of grace.

    - Bishop Marcus Lohrmann, Northwest Ohio Synod, ELCA at Life in the Spirit, Under the Cross, Growing in Faith, Sawmill Creek Resort, Huron, Ohio

  • Anna Madsen’s insights and engagement at our 2014 Academy were deeply appreciated by the ELCA Conference of Bishops. Carefully-crafted, thoughtful presentations were matched by an uncanny ability to “do theology” in a running dialogue with participants. Insatiably curious, Anna is especially gifted at making connections between our theological tradition and the issues of the moment. A lively, stimulating, and memorable co-learner/teacher!

    - Bishop Larry Wohlrabe, Northwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA, Chair, Academy Committee, ELCA Conference of Bishops at “Good News….From, With, and For…the Nones,

  • In the fourteen years of hosting visiting lecturers at the Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, I have never witnessed such a meltdown as what happened with Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen. Her unique presentation during the 2013 Fall Academy brought the house down, in a good way. Fresh and authentic, raw and honest, brilliantly funny and humanly humble, and theologically sound and inspiring while rooted in the “real world”, the first-class academically trained theologian led the audience on new paths in exploring the theological meanings of and responses to human suffering. Dr Madsen has a gift of speaking eloquently, understandably, and with an engaging spirit to varied audiences. She empowers participants to think hard and to feel. She speaks to real life issues, with a deep social consciousness and compassion for the fellow human beings. Dr Madsen’s OMG provides an access point for individuals, groups, and institutions to theologically address the issues of our world and promote changes, and not to take platitudes or “no” for an answer. Here in Gettysburg, people still talk about Dr Madsen’s presentation, and wish to call her back!

    - Rev. Dr. Kirsi Stjerna, Professor of Reformation Church History and Director of the Institute for Luther Studies at Reforming: Our Battles with Sex, Demons, and Demons of Violence, Gettysburg, PA

  • Anna Madsen’s emphasis on not having easy Easter answers without first facing the death experiences was powerful and well-told.

    - Participant from the Bishop’s Colloquy, South Central Synod of Wisconsin at The Practice of Community Through Holy Agitation, Fontana, WI

  • I felt affirmed in the theology that directs my thinking and eldership, and felt as though I had been given ‘permission’ to continue working to move my congregation into a future that will be very different than the institutionalized Church with its commodified gospel.

    - Participant from the Bishop’s Colloquy, South Central Synod of Wisconsin at The Practice of Community Through Holy Agitation, Fontana, WI

  • I really appreciated Anna’s integration of academics and practical, pragmatic lifting up the value of conversation.

    - Participant from the Bishop’s Colloquy, South Central Synod of Wisconsin at The Practice of Community Through Holy Agitation, Fontana, WI

  • I feel Anna gave us all permission to not only allow space for our congregational members to ask questions, but that we also wrestle with questions, doubts, etc. and that’s okay…more than okay but part of faith.

    - Participant from the Bishop’s Colloquy, South Central Synod of Wisconsin at The Practice of Community Through Holy Agitation, Fontana, WI

  • Anna’s leadership at the clergy theological retreat [in Waupaca, WI] guided our group on a journey of theological exploration and grace-filled hope. Her presentations engaged us in ways that encouraged us to stretch beyond ourselves and deeper into the mystery of God. If you are looking to find respite for your soul and to be inspired for life in response to the cross, look no further than the OMG Center.

    - Pastor Ben Sheets, Plover, WI at Under the Broomtree: 1 Kings 19:4-8, Waupaca, WI

  • Anna skillfully led our Theological Retreat for Clergy by walking with us through the often exhausting life we are called to live as ordained pastors. Anna’s insight and solid biblical, theological offerings refreshed and encouraged us to serve on in faith.

    - Rev. John Meachen Crossways Lutheran Camping Ministries at Under the Broomtree: 1 Kings 19:4-8, Waupaca, WI

  • Dr. Madsen’s ability to articulate so well the dynamics of the church as institution was inspiring and very healing. Thank you for your ministry to the people in the trenches!

    - Susan Marone, Associate to the Bishop, South Dakota Synod, ELCA at Finding Our Way in the New Missional Landscape, San Antonio, TX

  • I am grateful for Anna Madsen’s ability to engage pastors and lay leaders in the important work of reflecting upon the suffering of the world in the light of the Word of God. She brings energy, scholarship, humor and personal experience in speaking with honesty about God, the good news of Christ, and the painful struggles of people. Anna listens well, brings critical reflection, offers hope and healing and leads people to exclaim OMG!—in the varied nuances of that exclamation.

    - Bishop Gerald Mansholt, now of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin at Ambassadors of Salvation: A Model for Christian Advocacy, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

  • Rev. Dr. Madsen is such an engaging, witty, and winsome person, you can forget you’re also learning with her until she smacks you in the head with the power of the cross.

    - Upper Susquehanna Synod Theological Retreat Participant at The Cross as the Crux of Indignation and Hope, State College, PA

  • Anna’s thought-full, well-researched, and heartfelt presentations resonated with me and other clergy peers. I would trust Anna’s take on any topic, given the challenge, but know that her personal history brings added depth to her thoughts on pain and loss, grace and hope, life, death, and resurrection.

    - Upper Susquehanna Synod Theological Retreat Participant at The Cross as the Crux of Indignation and Hope, State College, PA

  • Anna and OMG can be a great partner for someone who is working through a challenging issue. Through personal meetings or online conversations, Anna is a top-notch listener, re-framer of ideas, and poser of thoughtful questions.

    - Rev. Beth Ann L. Stone, former Assistant to Bishop Driesen of the Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA (or Associate Pastor, Southwood Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE) at The Cross as the Crux of Indignation and Hope, State College, PA

  • She was a hit at WomanKind, both with her content- a workshop titled ‘The Practice of Tenacious Humility’ and with her thoughtful engagement with participants. I also engaged her as a coach from OMG as I was discerning next steps in my own vocation. Her ability to listen attentively to my words and the work of the spirit in my life was invaluable to me.

    - Rev. Ann Dieterle, Episcopalian Priest at WomanKind: Holy Mysteries: Embracing the Unknown, “The Practice of Tenacious Humility, Richmond, VA

  • Anna Madsen is an extraordinary practical theologian. As a group leader, she elicited deep questions and responded with theologically insightful, compassionate, and often humorous answers. A room full of Presbyterian ministers is a pretty sharp group, and she had us talking, laughing and most importantly, thinking about the impact of our faith on the most difficult challenges of life and ministry.

    - Pastor Fritz Ritsch, TX at Uncontained: God’s Movement Above, Below and Beyond the Surface, “Relevance, Reverence, and Renewal: Theology for Christians Who Think (and Those Who Think They May be Christians)”, Tampa, Florida

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