Michael John Pryse was born in Toronto, Ontario on October 31, 1959 a date commemorating the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation. At age two he was adopted and moved to Kitchener, Ontario where he was baptized at St. Philip Evangelical Lutheran Church. After completing his primary and elementary education, he attended Eastwood Collegiate. Upon graduation he studied at Wilfrid Laurier University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in History and English. He subsequently enrolled in Waterloo Lutheran Seminary graduating in 1985 with a Master of Divinity degree earning a Graduate Gold Medal for Academic Excellence.
Following his ordination on June 7, 1985 he served as pastor in Mildmay, Neustadt and Burlington, Ontario and then as Assistant to the Bishop of Eastern Synod. He has served as a member of the ELCIC National Church Council and the Board of Directors of Canadian Lutheran World Relief. In 1998 he was elected to serve as Bishop of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Bishop Pryse is fervently committed to the cause of Christian unity and is a strong advocate for increased ecumenical and multi-faith co-operation. He has co-chaired the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission from 2001 to 2013 and the Anglican Lutheran International Coordinating Committee since 2013. He has led and participated in a wide variety of ecumenical and multi-faith delegations both here in Canada and abroad.
Bishop Pryse’s grandfather, a Baptist clergyman who emigrated from the United Kingdom in 1930, was a formative influence in his life. He did much of his ministry among the Six Nations peoples in Southern Ontario, and in 1965 was inducted into the Cayuga band and given the name Haw we nye so wane, which translates into English as Big Heart. This example and his own experience of being adopted into a loving family, have fueled Bishop Pryse’s desire to break down the walls that divide members of the human family.
He has travelled extensively in many parts of the world on delegations to strengthen development partnerships that address basic human rights in places such as India, Guyana, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Israel and Palestine, to mention only a few. He is an advocate for responsibility of churches to publicly address issues of global justice, human rights, international development and issues related to the full inclusivity of all people.
Bishop Pryse leads the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, which established the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in 1911 and Waterloo College in 1925, and which became Waterloo Lutheran University in 1959 and Wilfrid Laurier University in 1973. In 2011, Wilfrid Laurier University awarded Bishop Pryse an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his distinguished leadership in a wide range of public, ecumenical and multi-faith arenas.
Bishop Pryse and his wife Lois are the parents of four daughters and five grandchildren and presently reside in Kitchener, Ontario.