Bishop Emeritus Dean Nelson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1944 and attended public schools in that city. He was confirmed at St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago in 1958. He graduated summa cum laude from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota in 1966, with a major in English and minors in German and philosophy. He attended Harvard Divinity School in Massachusetts, interned at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Santa Rosa, California and graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul in 1970. He was ordained in the former ALC, a predecessor body of the ELCA, in 1970. He served congregations in Enid, Oklahoma, Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was Senior Pastor here at First from 1995-2001. In 2001 he was elected as the third bishop of the Southwest California Synod, ELCA, and served two terms, retiring in 2013. He is married to the former Marianne Anderson, a retired fourth grade teacher from First Lutheran School, and is the father of Kirsten Nelson Calabrese and Mark Nelson, and the grandfather of Henry and Lena. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of First Serve, he chairs the Synod’s Middle East Peace Task Force, serves as an area representative for Bright Stars of Bethlehem, and serves on the boards of both Opportunity Palestine and Providence Little Company of Mary Hospitals of Torrance and San Pedro. He continues to provide pulpit supply both at First and at congregations throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and sings with the Long Beach Camerata Singers. He and Marianne also enjoy traveling both nationally and globally.