To read Bishop Larry’s latest letter to the people of Synod of Alberta and the Territories, please click here.
Bishop Larry Kochendorfer’s biography
As a child and youth, Larry was regularly involved in the community of faith through Christian education, choirs, youth group, and as a musician, leading congregational song beginning at an early age. Following high school, Larry enrolled in the Bachelor of Music program fully intending on performing and teaching the piano – the call to ordained ministry was always in mind, however. His mother tells the story of his announcement at the age of four that he was going to be a pastor. After Larry’s first year of studies (which included 6-8 hours of practice per day) one of his hands went numb – a long and pain-filled story – and his piano performance career was over. But in the midst of this painful life change he sensed the Spirit of God at work and responded by enrolling at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI) in Camrose to study and seek God’s will.
It was there that Larry’s eye caught sight of an alto in the choir, Cathy Wig, and they were married in 1983. Cathy is a wonderfully gifted woodworker; she loves crafts, music, and organizing. She is an exceptional caregiver. They are parents to four children: Paul (and Kim), Matthew, Anna, and Jordan whose lives have greatly enriched their own. They consider it a gift that their home includes a “revolving door” where children, family, and friends are welcomed and blessed on their journeys.
Following two years at CLBI, Larry enrolled at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus (at that time Camrose Lutheran College) and was a member of the first graduating class with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Psychology in 1985. He entered Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon in 1985 and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1989. In 2008 he graduated from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, Florida, with a Doctor of Worship Studies degree where his doctoral thesis focused on renewing baptismal spirituality.
Larry feels blessed to have served with and among the people of Bethany Lutheran Church, Dickson (1989-1993), Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lethbridge (1993-2002); Ascension Lutheran Church, Edmonton (2002-2010); and, as Assistant to the Bishop (August 2010 to December 2012). In October 2012 he was elected as Bishop of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Bishop Larry has travelled extensively to the Synod’s Companion Partner, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO), facilitating both Congregational and Synod journeys. He has also journeyed to El Salvador to accompany Rev Dr. Brian Rude, En Misión con El Salvador: In Mission
with El Salvador and has facilitated Synod journeys.
He was elected to the Lutheran World Federation Council in 2017 and has travelled to various Council and Regional meetings throughout the world. He is an appointed member of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission, the National Church Council’s Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee, and the Lutheran/Anglican Common Word Task Force.
This photo is of Bishop Larry visiting with children at the Lutheran School in Sogamoso, Colombia in 2018. Photo taken by Rev. Dr. James Hendricksen.