+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
We are moving deeper into our staff transition work.
Bishop-elect Pederson has opened conversations with our staff about the “why” of our work together as synod staff. That conversation leads to the “how” we imagine the staff working to serve the mission and priorities of the synod in the future. Finally, we get to the question of “who” will serve in the current or adjusted roles.
Already, Bishop-elect Dee Pederson has done at least one-on-one visits with all staff in our core team which includes our office team, the synod ministers, and the youth ministry coordinator. We are thankful for this team of staff members’ service and knowledge of the synod. Rostered ministers’ calls are coterminous with the bishop’s term. The bishop-elect has been visiting with staff members about their ongoing service, hopes all members will continue to serve, and has invited them to continue in service. The goal of these conversations is to better serve the mission, to best utilize their gifts, and to continue their development as a staff member. Pr. Dee is thinking about how we might continue many things that we have been responsible for and adjust other things in the next chapter of our synod’s ministry. She is also listening and imagining with them ways the staff might strengthen job descriptions and improve our service to the mission of Jesus and our synod. This week we will talk together about our shared work as a synod staff. This work is deepening and continuing.
Here are other things we want to share.
Even though we are doing important work to prepare for the transition, all staff have been encouraged to take time for vacations. Those vacations are underway and appreciated.
Bishop-elect Dee Pederson continues to be an ELCA employee until August 31st. She becomes the Acting Bishop on Sept. 1, 2021. Her installation will be on Oct. 9th at Granite Falls Lutheran Church at 2 p.m. The Planning team is already working. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will be here for the installation and to preach. We are thankful for the hospitality that has, and will, be shown by the leaders at Granite Falls Lutheran.
We are preparing for the search to identify a new Director for Evangelical Mission. The job description will be posted soon and remain posted until the position is filled. When you see the description, if you think of someone, please reach out and encourage them to be open to serve. If you are feeling called yourself, let us know. Our Bishop-elect plans on having a call committee in staff searches. A member of the Executive Committee and a member of the Personnel Committee will be sought to review applications and serve on the interview team. The governance of our synod (Personnel and Exec. Committees) will be asked to give input on the proposed job descriptions. The Director for Evangelical Mission is called by our Churchwide organization with a shared search process and shared decision with our synod bishop.
My term as bishop ends on August 31st. I have accepted a position at Luther Seminary in St. Paul to serve as the Director of Rural Ministry. I will begin my new position on Sept. 20, after a few weeks of moving and using some of my remaining vacation. Our home was placed on the market on July 5th. We have found a home to rent in St. Paul. I am excited about the next chapter of my ministry as I am for this synod’s next chapter.
Pr. Kathryn Skoglund will also complete her work on August 31st, when her call as the Engaging Leaders Synod Minister ends. This decision comes as a result of her prayer and discernment. She will be retiring on Sept. 1, 2021. We will find a time and ways for you to express your appreciation to Pr. Kathryn. She will continue to be available to do consulting hours in the transition, particularly helping with our Candidacy Committee work until that is handed off to the next staff member. That means we are also beginning to think about the synod ministers’ roles in the next chapter of ministry. We may need to identify an interim staff member or else we will have to move this search forward quickly.
Pr. Stephen Cook’s term also concludes on August 31st. He has indicated his openness to continuing as an Interim Synod Minister as other staff are identified and equipped to serve. He will provide helpful experience as we move into the fall during this transition time.
Conference Minister’s contracts conclude at the end of the current bishop’s term. Whether this kind of position will continue is part of the new bishops, and our governance teams’ discernment work ahead. How we use part-time people may change. Earlier in my time these part time people carried particular areas of responsibility.
Our Gifts of Grace’ staff, Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen and Pr. Kelly France will serve forward on our Lilly grant work. They will eventually visit with the bishop-elect to discuss their futures as well.
We are grateful for the whole staff team’s work in this time of change. Please hold us in your prayers as we seek to do our normal work and prepare for the next chapter of synod ministry.