Bishop Rimbo

rimboWhat is the role of the bishop?

  • Synod spiritual guide
  • Pastor to the pastors and congregations
  • Member of ELCA Conference of Bishops
  • Ecumenical liaison
  • Speaker and published author


Robert Alan Rimbo is bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He was formerly the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City, and immediately prior to that, bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA.

A graduate of Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1972), and Christ Seminary - Seminex, St. Louis, Missouri (1976), Bishop Rimbo holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church (2010). He is married to Lois, a retired elementary school reading and language arts specialist. They are the parents of two adult children, Deborah and Justin (married to Angela), and the grandparents of Owen Robert and Zoe Elizabeth.

Bishop Rimbo has served the church in a variety of capacities: pastorates in Michigan, New York and New Jersey; assistant to the bishop in the Southeast Michigan Synod; director of music in several parishes; and executive assistant to the project director for the publication of the Lutheran Book of Worship. He has also served as chaplain, editor, advisor, and coordinator for a number of boards and projects relating to worship and parish ministry. He has held and continues to hold membership on numerous boards including those of Lutheran Services New York Alliance, Lutheran Social Services New York, Wagner College, and the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University. He is a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the North American Academy of Liturgy and serves as the Secretary for the Council of Churches of the City of New York.

Bishop Rimbo has been an invited speaker, preacher and workshop leader by the national Lutheran Churches of Australia, Finland, and Sweden.  He has given major addresses at the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, the Pastoral Liturgy Institute of Notre Dame University, the Leadership Conference of Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and at various meetings of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. He has published essays, sermons and numerous other articles relating to worship and is the author of Why Worship Matters (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2004). He was a member of the editorial teams for the Renewing Worship project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which published Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).