Bishop Deborah Hutterer Report
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Sing the Lord a new song is the theme of the Synod Assembly 2019.
These first months in office continue to assure me that we are better together as God works among us to build on the strong melodies of the past. The Holy Spirit is leading us into a new future. You, people of the GCS, have offered your support by attending the installation, sending notes, offering encouraging and challenging words, your visits, and prayers.
The Synod Council leaders have faithfully engaged in our work. The Executive Committee has been readily available, including vice president Paul Gryniewicz and interim vice president Barbara Carl who both shared the role this year.
Jerry Zaddack will complete his term of four years as GCS treasurer. Jerry was on my speed dial, always answered, and was always the first to say, “Did we pray about that?” There are faithful leaders in the GCS, and we are all blessed by their participation. Please thank him for his ministry to the Synod in this role.
Former Bishops Talmage and Almen have been readily available for the unexpected questions, I write this report as I begin my 8th month of serving the role of Grand Canyon Synod Bishop.
My goals for this year were:
Identify and appoint staff ready to serve the GCS by January 31, 2019.
The Office of the Bishop team is fully staffed and was completed by January 15, 2019.
Bishop Deborah Hutterer (F-T)
Pastor Miguel Gomez-Acosta (F-T), Director of Evangelical Mission and Associate to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality
Pastor Jaqueline Pagel (F-T), Associate to the Bishop for Candidacy and Faith Formation
Norine Floyd (F-T), Director of Administration and Events
Pastor Mark Holman (P-T), contracted, Associate to the Bishop for Mobility and Leadership
Dr. Jerry Kingman (volunteer), Special Associate for Mobility
Brian Flatgard (3/4 time), contracted, Director of Communication
Clint Wasser, CPA, contracted, Director of Finance
We thank God for Kimberlee Stevens, Dr. Teri Traaen, and Wendell Harris who served the GCS so faithfully over the past years.
Visit every conference meeting and hold Spring Gatherings that included all conferences in the GCS by May 1, 2019.
This was completed April 6, 2019. Thank you for those who attended and offered your voices to the work we do together as church.
Office of the Bishop will visit every GCS ministry site by March 8, 2020. The Bishop will visit every GCS ministry site by September 30, 2020.
As of May 30, the Office of the Bishop team will have visited 57 ministry sites.
As of May 30, I will have visited 32 ministry sites, many visits included preaching, and some were visits with leaders.
Oversee and guide the transition planning process for the GCS that was approved by the GCS Council. Make a presentation to the GCS Assembly, June 14-15, 2019.
The GCS contracted with Rev. Dr. Len Hoffmann to facilitate and guide our process. The work included the voices of the Synod Council, Deans, Fall Gathering of Rostered Leaders, retired pastors and GCS Conferences.
Grow accountability and transparency by increasing communication that includes a weekly email update and updated website.
Weekly email communications began January 15, 2019.
GCS website was updated and launched March 1, 2019. Updates and additions are being added as we receive feedback.
Follow through with events and commitments on the calendar that included Conference of Bishops, installations, anniversaries and ordinations.
Ordinations: Rev. Kathleen Lotz, Rev. Abel Arroyo, Rev. John Barton.
Installations: Rev. Sharon Brown, Rev. Patricia Lowe, Rev. Tim Eighmy, Rev. Abel Arroyo, Rev. Stephen Hilding, Canon Debbie Royals, Rev. Andrea Cain.
Ordination and Consecration of Episcopal Bishop Jennifer Reddall, also the 6th bishop for Episcopal Church in AZ and first female in AZ.
Conference of Bishop meetings in September 2018 and March 2019.
And other calendar items.
During Synod Assembly those gathered will engage in conversation about how we will go about living our mission over these next years as we:
One core message of our faith as Christians in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is that as people loved by God, we respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors. I have been wrestling with a few questions around withering congregations, the immigration and border concerns in Arizona and Nevada, how we tell our stories about the mighty acts of God in our lives, and how to be open to the new song when we only know the melodies of the past.
Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary once asked during a presentation: “What if being a neighbor means taking a stand? To advocate, to seek justice and peace – even if it means we are being called into controversy?”
Bishops in the ELCA do not “fix” people or congregations. It is not our polity. It is my work to encourage you to go out into your neighborhood and community and discover the one thing that you could do to make a difference. It is my work to provide resources. It is my work to call you to be courageous as you ask where God is calling you to love and serve.
Paul’s words to the Romans come to mind as we go forward as church together knowing that it is God’s church…
May we all be open to hear God’s new song in our midst!
Bishop Deborah K. Hutterer