Bishop Hutterer: Family Gathering

Once a year, in Minnesota, my family gathers together for an annual camping outing. As the family began to grow we realized this was a time to do an all-out Olympics with a torch, national anthem, games and trophies. We pull bandanas out of a pillowcase and the only rule is that you can’t be with someone from your immediate family. As we play games, eat and sit around the campfire, young children can get to know their older relatives. New members of the family are introduced. We celebrate life’s milestones and remember years gone by.


While every family is unique and might have different traditions, family reunions are a way to make new memories together and remember what is most important in life.

Synod Assembly is the one time of year that our synod family gets together. Where we can dwell on what this work is really about.

At last year’s synod assembly, many spoke of how they felt Holy Spirit’s presence during the election of a new bishop. I certainly hope that Holy Spirit comes to Synod Assembly more than once every 6 years! The work at hand is just as important this year.

As I and the Synod Council present the strategic plan, I wonder about all we hope to accomplish—stronger ecumenical relationships, increased advocacy on behalf of our vulnerable neighbors, new opportunities for multi-cultural ministry, conversations around vital and right-sized ministries, and expanding focused ministry for our youth.

Holy Spirit in and among us stirs and causes action. I don’t know the answers. I wrestle with the same questions that you do. But every moment is an invitation. I pray that Synod Assembly can be a place where the conversations, questions, and information we share together are holy. That you’ll be given insight in how we’re moving toward God’s calling for us in the new and unknown.

2019 is a year of transition for the Grand Canyon Synod as we seek to redefine our strategic vision, mission and goals.

I embrace this transition with a sense of excitement, adventure and hope for the future. I hope you will join us as we seek to “Sing to the Lord a New Song!” on June 14 and 15 at the Grand Canyon Synod Assembly.

As the writer and teacher Parker Palmer wrote in Let Your Life Speak, “We must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potential God gave us. We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer – and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives.”



The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer
Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA