Bishop Talmage Accepts Call to Love of Christ, Mesa, AZ

"It is the Lord who goes before you. The Lord will be with you; the Lord will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8 On Sunday, March 12, 2017 the members of Love of Christ Lutheran Church, Mesa, AZ, voted to extend me the call to serve as their next Sr. Pastor. After a period of prayer and discernment, I am accepting this new call and will be resigning my call as bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod effective July 31, 2017. As communicated in my earlier letter to leaders in the synod, the Synod Council agreed to request an interim bishop be appointed by our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. Anticipating this pending change and seeking someone who has the respect and knowledge of our synod, Bishop Eaton is appointing The Rev. Dr. Lowell Almen as interim bishop to begin serving after I leave this office. I am confident that with his vast experience as leader in the ELCA and overseeing numerous bishop elections, he will be a tremendous asset to our Council, our Conference Deans, and our synod staff as preparations are made to elect a new bishop at the Synod Assembly in 2018.

I am thankful for the trust put in me, and the privilege to serve as bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod. I have been with many of you in times of celebration, times of sorrow, and times of significant change. Throughout this journey, I have held on to the verse above with great confidence that it is the Lord who called me into this office and now is calling me to a new opportunity to use my gifts to accompany and strengthen fellow disciples of Jesus. I ask for your prayers for all who are impacted by this change. I ask for your participation in the process that will be forthcoming that will lead to God providing a new bishop.

With Much Gratitude, Rev. Stephen S. Talmage