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Reverend Karen Stroup (voiced by Mary Tyler Moore in 1999, Ashley Gardner in 2000–2010) is the first female minister of Arlen First Methodist Church. She is originally from Minnesota, but is assigned to Arlen after Reverend Thomason left to start an online ministry in "Revenge of the Lutefisk."


In the episode "Revenge of the Lutefisk," Karen revealed that she was an avid Minnesota Vikings fan, much to Hank's appeasement. She and Bill have had ongoing flirtatious moments throughout Seasons 3-11, most notably in the episode "The Passion of the Dauterive," where Karen temporarily moved into Bill's house due to a relationship. Bill eventually broke up with her, resulting in no contact between the two for the rest of the series.

Throughout the show, she leads the Arlen First Methodist Church in mass and prayer and occasionally helps the Sunday school as well. Whenever Hank has a problem explaining aspects of religion to either Bobby or Luanne, he seeks Stroup's help, such as when Bobby was looking into Buddhism or when Luanne wanted to become a born-again virgin.

In Lucky's Wedding Suit after marrying Luann and Lucky she tries to catch the bouquet that Luann throws. She misses but after Connie catches it and reluctantly drops it after a scolding from her mom, Karen sneaks back and grabs the bouquet.

Episode appearances



  • She is based on the actual Karen Stroup, Miv D, Phd. Born into a military family she lived in numerous places, including Hawaii. During her time there she experienced many religions, including Buddhism.
  • Her original voice actress, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away on January 25, 2017. Moore would not reprise the role after Revenge of the Lutefisk, though Stroup would keep the Minnesota accent. Moore's 1970s Mary Tyler Moore Show, which was also co-created by Simpsons co-producer James L. Brooks, was set in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This may have been the inspiration for making Stroup a native Minnesotan.
  • Stroup was unmarried and without children. Moore's Mary Tyler Moore Show character Mary Richards was unmarried and childless throughout her show's run as well.