Bishop Hutterer: God of Surprise

God often surprises me. I believe it was Anne Lamott who said, “God can be such a showoff.” Indeed. 

God surprised me when I felt a call to become a pastor. And in my 40s I was given the opportunity to go to college and to seminary. 

God surprised me when I was ordained at the age of 49. 

God surprised me when I was so deeply certain that once I was ordained that I was not moving anywhere outside of the Twin Cities Metro area. When my then husband, Gary and I prayed and prayed and prayed, he said, “If God wants us to go, who are we to stay?” My first call was to Pontiac, IL, and I couldn’t have created a better place to serve. 

God surprised me when I received an inquiry from Faith in the City, and they extended a call to serve in the Twin Cities. We were closer to family and it was a blessing during my husband’s illness of ALS. 

God surprised me when after my husband’s death, when I was seeking new life, and sure I’d never move to Arizona, I got a call to serve at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest—in Arizona. 

God surprised me when the Grand Canyon Synod Assembly elected me as the sixth Bishop. 

God of Surprise has gifted me with a new love. Pastor Alan Field and I will be married, Thursday, May 23, in a small gathering. On Sunday, May 27, the people of New Spirit will have a reception to celebrate this surprise and joy. If you are in the area, worship is at 10 am, and the reception follows. Your prayers are welcome as we transition into this new life while keeping our current positions. 

Someone asked what I can do to top a year of being elected bishop and getting married. I assured them that I am not going to have a baby. But, then again, God is full of surprises, so although unlikely, I won’t bet on it. 

How has God surprised you? If I don’t respond right away, I’ll be away for a few days enjoying this new marriage, rooted and grounded in God’s love and surprise.


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