Being Stewards of an Opportunity to Contribute to the Call Process of the Bishop

The past twenty plus years, as Bishop of this synod, I have worked persistently to define whose we are as the Allegheny Synod and what our ministry is.  Through several recent initiatives of the Nittany Conference/2012 Synod Assembly, the Finance Committee, the Synod Council, and the staff we have identified 3-E’s that we believe interpret the ministry we do as a people on the road together in the Allegheny Synod. 

In other words, if one inquires for what does the Allegheny Synod exist, we say … in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we:

1.    Equip Lay and Rostered Leaders and Potential Candidates for Public Ministry

Meaning that together we provide ongoing growth and renewal opportunities for leaders at events like Bishop’s Convocation, First Call Theological Education, and Discerning your Discipleship (DYD); offer spiritual and pastoral care for leaders and families that they might feel a greater sense of health and wholeness; nurture a spirit of collegiality among rostered and lay leaders; are spirit-led as potential candidates are matched with congregations in call processes; are active in encouraging the exploration of public ministry by persons while providing a supportive and discerning process as they prepare for ministries of Word and Sacrament and Word and Service; and fund the seminary, outdoor ministry, and college chaplaincies so that solid faith formation is fostered in budding new church leaders.

2.    Empower the People of our Congregations in their Ministries

Meaning that together we will seek to inspire and encourage God’s people in our mission centers in their ministries in Jesus’ name; providing spiritual leadership; offering events like Congregations Together in Ministry, DYD, and workshops as appropriate; supporting congregations in times of tension and difference and offering the gifts of the Bishop’s Office and the Ministry of Reconciliation Team; being present with congregations in times of transition of a pastor or associate in ministry, assisting them with interim coverage and development of their ministry profile; informing one another about ministries among us and beyond us through the use of the internet, webpage, The Lutheran Letter, direct mail, and face to face conversations; and reminding people of these communities that we are better together than we are apart.  ……. and

3.    Extend Ministries beyond our congregations

Meaning that together we will seek to support ministries of social service, advocacy, higher education, and ecumenism; and be good managers and stewards of all of our resources.

So we are a synod of 3-E’s -- Equipping Leaders, Empowering People in Congregations, and Extending Ministries.  That is who we are and what we do!  It is upon this foundation that we embark on calling the next bishop of this synod … and your input is greatly desired!

Together we are in a time of discernment leading up to the June election and call of a new synodical shepherd; and the Bishop Transition Task Force is inviting every congregation in the months of January and February to become active participants in this time of discernment by sharing in two different conversation opportunities which are intended to assist the task force in shaping a synod profile (capturing who we are together and our hopes and dreams for the future) and a bishop profile (identifying what gifts and qualities we are seeking in the next bishop we call). 

The task force believes these documents can assist both voting members and potential candidates in discerning who will be called to the Office of Bishop in the Allegheny Synod.  Watch for your pastor’s or associate in ministry’s announcement of these conversation opportunities, right there in your own congregation – no need to drive to another church!!  It does not get any easier than that to participate. 

The task force looks forward to receiving your input which they will take and use to develop the profiles.  Again I invite you to the table for your thoughts which I believe will assist us in continuing to build this community of disciples who equip leaders, empower people in congregations, and extend ministries in the name of Jesus, the Emmanuel (God with us).     
                                                                                                  +Bishop Gregory