April 17, 2013
Dear Members of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA:
Thank you for the tremendous outpouring of prayers that have risen up from
every part of this synod.
I am grateful for how you have held in prayer the Mengelt family, Bishop
Burnside and his family, synod leadership, pastors, members and
congregations of this synod.
Your Synod Council is focused on faithfully fulfilling its responsibility to
the mission and ministry of this synod, so that together we can continue to
bear witness to God’s love for the world.
On Tuesday, April 16, your Synod Council met and consulted with the Rev.
Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA. At the meeting, the Synod
Council made the following decisions and recommendations:
In accordance with the constitution and bylaws of the South-Central Synod of
Wisconsin (+S8.56), the
Synod Council accepted the determination of the
Executive Committee, which concurred with
Bishop Burnside, that he is unable
to fulfill the responsibilities of the office of bishop for the duration
his term, which concludes June 30.
In accordance with the constitution and bylaws (+S8.54), and in order to
provide for the
responsibilities of the bishop, the Synod Council authorized
the Executive Committee, in
consultation with the presiding bishop, to
consider pastors for interim bishop, and to bring a
recommendation of a
pastor to serve the synod as interim bishop to the Synod Council as soon as
After prayerful deliberation and deep conversation, the Synod Council
recommends that the bishop’s
election not be held at the upcoming Synod
Assembly May 4-5, but instead be postponed to a
later date in 2013 at a time
and location to be determined by the Synod Council. The Synod
further recommends that the time that was to be used to conduct an election
at the May 4-5 Synod Assembly instead be used to have facilitated
conversation about what we
are experiencing now as a synod, and about what
God is calling this synod to with regard to its
mission and ministry in the
future. The recommendation to postpone the bishop’s election will
before the Synod Assembly on May 4.
In the upcoming days, the Synod Council, synod staff, the Synod Assembly
Planning Team and many others will be working diligently to make
preparations for the implementation of these recommendations. More
information about the changes suggested for the May 4-5 Synod Assembly and
about plans for the postponed bishop’s election and process will be shared
in the coming days.
Please be attentive to communications from your synod so that you do not
miss any of these important updates. I ask that you please be patient as
many people are working on the multiple facets of these decisions and
Please continue to pray for the ministry of your synod and its leadership,
as we fulfill our responsibilities to the gospel and to the mission of Jesus
that we share.
Synod Vice President
South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA
Click here to download a PDF of this letter.