Posts in Bishop Hutterer
Bishop Hutterer: Counting Blessings

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded to notice God’s abundance and “count our blessings.” You may even practice this at a Thanksgiving table of family, friends and food.

It’s easy to think of Jesus at such a table. The Gospel gives us numerous examples of Jesus and the disciples giving thanks for the bread of that day, and then returning to the dusty road of service with nothing more than simple clothes and sandals for walking.

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Bishop Hutterer: God is calling

At the Bishop’s Fall Gathering, someone asked me, “Where do you find joy?” And, while I find many places of joy, it got me thinking. When I opened myself to serve in this role as bishop, I wasn’t thinking of joy. My prayer was, and still is, that God would use me to serve. Even though I get to do so many wonderful things, there are days when I struggle. 

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Bishop Hutterer: Our Public Witness

In September the synod council, staff, and conference deans gathered in Tucson for a weekend of church business, worship, fellowship, and a border immersion experience. The experience comes out of our commitment to live into our strategic plan of communicating Jesus: “We will grow our public witness through advocacy, integrating our ELCA theology and engagement with current issues and contextual realities.”

The workshop included time to examine our perceptions around border issues, to cross the border and visit our Lutheran-Episcopal ministry, Cruzando Fronteras, and worship with the GCS’s oldest Spanish speaking congregation, Iglesia San Juan Bautista.

View reports, resources, and reflections of the participants.

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ELCA Conference of Bishops welcomes greater diversity

The Conference of Bishops of the ELCA met in Chicago Sept. 26–Sept. 30 under a theme from 2 Corinthians: "We have this treasure in clay jars." The conference, an advisory body of the ELCA, comprises 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.

"Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God's people, the Conference of Bishops is now more diverse in more ways than it has ever been," said the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the conference.

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers, faith leaders and refugee advocates gather at AZ State Capitol

Bishop Deborah Hutterer joined refugee advocates in response to President Donald Trump's decision to lower the cap on refugee admissions over the next 12 months to 18,000, saying it will hurt Arizona socially and economically.

"Let me reaffirm that refugees do not bring terror when they resettle. Rather, they are the ones who are fleeing terror," Hutterer said. "It's refugees who contribute to our community, both economically and with their passion for this country, (and) bring with them their diverse cultures and backgrounds that only enrich the United States."

Read the full story »

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Bishop Hutterer reflects on LWF retreat for newly elected leaders

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton invited me and two other U.S. bishops (Bishop Susan Briner and Bishop Patricia Davenport) to participate in an annual retreat held early September for newly elected leaders by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

In addition to the three ELCA bishops, there were bishops and pastor presidents from Zambia, Ghana, South Korea, Thailand, northern India, Bolivia, the River Table (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) and Peru.

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Bishop Hutterer: The Main Thing

We are blessed to be church together in a time of renewal. Looking back through centuries of our faith’s history, we can imagine the anxiety and doubt of people living in times of extreme change. We can also see what must have been nearly invisible to that congregation of saints: the Holy Spirit at work.

Dr. Dwight Zscheile, of Luther Seminary, recently wrote about predictions from an ELCA Research & Evaluation project that the ELCA may be gone in 30 years. You can read Zscheile’s article at

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Grand Canyon Synod Retirees’ Retreat

Get ready for a time for fellowship, relaxation, worship and learning in a pleasant desert setting: November 4-6, 2019, at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona.

We are delighted that Fr. Greg Adolf, Rector of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, AZ, has accepted our invitation to be the 2019 Presenter! Chaplain will again be the Rev. Steve Holm, a well-known retired parish pastor who continues to write a daily devotional for Spirit in the Desert’s website. We are also privileged that our new Bishop, the Rev. Deborah Hutterer, and synod staff member, the Rev. Mark Holman, will be with us! View this PDF for more info and to register.

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2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly wrap-up: Summary of actions and photos

Gathering under the theme "We are church," voting members of the 2019 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made a number of key decisions to further the mission and ministry of this church. The assembly, the chief legislative authority of the church, met Aug. 5-10 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. 

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Bishop Hutterer: Sanctuary, What Does It Mean?

Many of you know the ELCA Churchwide Assembly convened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last week. In addition to daily worship, during the business meetings there were many decisions and conversations, including resolutions and memorials. Among the business items addressed included a resolution on the subject of Sanctuary. The Grand Canyon Synod supports/endorses the Background Provided to the Assembly by the Memorials Committee. Please click to read more on this background, and what the resolution on Sanctuary means and does not mean.

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GCS reps head to Churchwide Assembly

Please remember in prayer the voting members of the Grand Canyon Synod as they gather in Milwaukee: Veronica Alvarez, Roger Bailey, Pastor David Brandfass, Paul Gryniewicz, Bishop Deborah Hutterer, Norman Johnson, Erin LaHaye, Pastor Chon Pugh, Maria Valenzuela, Renee Waterstradt, and Deacon Janice Zimbelman.

Pray for save travel, and may the Holy Spirit work through them as the assembled discern the future of our church.

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Bishop Hutterer: For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive…

For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive in ourselves and our families. You may have grown up in a congregation that worshipped in different languages. Your home church might have had German inscribed in the stained glass, or you celebrated a holiday with special foods.

Our involvement with immigration is as old as the Bible.

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Bishop Hutterer: Just Visiting

While working at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, I once met a refugee woman named Anastasia. When I asked her what she appreciated most about her new life in the United States, she told me it was the food in her cupboard, the water coming from her sink, and the fact that her children could go to school. She felt safe. 

It really reminds you of the things in life that can be so easily missed. 

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Bishop Hutterer: A New Song

From the front of the room at the 32nd Grand Canyon Synod Assembly this past weekend, I had an overwhelming sense of Holy Spirit’s presence. Friends greeting one another by name. New faces sparking conversation. Volunteers and staff serving with pride. While we spoke of singing a new song, I was also listening for new songs.

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