+Bishop Dee Pederson

For the past four years, this synod has been blessed by the ministry of Pr. Stephen Cook, called especially to lead the ministry of equipping synod congregations. Last summer, Pr. Steve agreed to continue this call until the beginning of 2022. Then I was thrilled he agreed to continue serving during this year, bringing his knowledge, expertise, and leadership to our synod ministry. Pr. Steve has discerned that he will officially retire by the end of 2022 – and we have been blessed by his leadership for a whole year longer than anticipated. Thanks be to God and to Pr. Steve!

And God’s gifts were given…. to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 2)

A message from Pr. Stephen Cook –

Good friends,

It has come to pass that I will be leaving my Call as Synod Minister in November. There is a nice symmetry to this. I began this Call on November 1, 2018. When I accepted this Call, I of course knew that there would be Bishop Election in June of 2021, so I imagined serving into the new term for a bit. So here we are.  

A great deal of life has happened in those years! We all know the toll of the pandemic. Death came for both of my parents – my father in November 2018 and my mother in December of 2019. As a synod we have a new Bishop. Many beloved colleagues have moved on and new friends have come. That is the way of ministry and of life itself. It was an honor to serve with Bishop Jon, and with my synod staff colleagues. When Bishop Dee asked me to stay on to help with the transition I was pleased to agree. Bp Dee and I had served together in the parish, and I know the sort of leader she is. I have been blessed in the relationship and I know our Synod will be blessed.  

I want to say a particular word of gratitude to our Synod Staff. Tammy Schacher, Kristin Bakeberg, and Maggie Berggren each bring such gifts to the team. We absolutely would be in the weeds without them. My fellow members of the pastoral staff – Pastor Heather Culuris and Pastor Troy Pflibsen – bring terrific new insights and energy.  

I will continue to be involved in the life and work of out Synod in the future, especially with  Family Emotional Systems Theory work and the Congregational Resource Team and its ministries with congregations.

December 15 will be the 43rd anniversary of my ordination. How time flies! How things change!! And through it all the Lord of the Church continues to call forth the New Creation from the Table and the Font and will do this until that day when all creation gathers to feast at the Supper of the Lamb. May God speed the day and, in the meantime, bless the church with gifted leaders and faithful people.  

Peace and joy,

We will extend heartfelt thanks to Pr. Steve this fall, but for now want to share this information with you and ask for your prayers that God call forth a leader to serve in this ministry. And we pray for a new chapter of renewal and refreshment for Pr. Steve and Sylvia as they continue to walk in God’s grace and light.  

As the position posting for this call is being developed, we know that this Synod Minister position will continue to focus on call processes and will require strengths of knowledge and experience in working with finances. A position description will be posted by August 1, with applications closing at the end of August. Interviews with prospective candidates will take place during September, with the call announced in early October and the Synod Minister beginning to serve by November and overlapping with Pr. Steve.

Rev. Stephen Cook
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