June 2024

Dear friends,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I bring you greetings from Bishop Bill Gafkjen and the saints who were assembled in Louisville, Kentucky last weekend for our annual Indiana-Kentucky Synod Assembly. 325, or more, of us were packed in tight at the Crowne Plaza conference center. The space was originally bookedwith the intention of only hosting around 200 people, but when Bishop Bill announced his retirement mid term, we surprisingly were now going to have a Bishop’s election on our hands at this year’s assembly; and thus, the voting delegates came out in droves.

The Bishop’s election was not without some excitement, and Reverend Tim Graham was elected to be our next I-K Synod Bishop. Pastor Tim has served Messiah Lutheran Church inFort Wayne for many years and I look forward to what new and exciting things God will call him to oversee in his time as our Bishop.

I say that the election was not without some excitement, because both ELCA pastors serving churches in Muncie received enough nominations on the first ballot that put them in the top half of the 35 nominated; Pastor Jerry O’Neal and Your's Truly.

Pastor Jerry was one of the candidates invited to submit a biographical form before the election, and he would go on to make it to the fourth round of voting, placing him in the top three candidates. He spoke sincerely from the microphone during the Q&A and I believe he would have served the Synod well, if he was given the opportunity. Voting went to a fifth ballot, with the finalists being the Rev. Tim Graham and Rev. Adrianne Meier, who serves Saint Thomas in Bloomington. It was a very Spirit filled election, and for that I am grateful.

As for me, I withdrew my name from the election on Friday night at 9:45pm, fifteen minutes shyof the 10pm withdrawal deadline. I had spoken with Kari before I left for the Assembly, and we decided that if my name were put forward, I would not pursue the Office at this time. It wasn’t the right time, we’re happy where we’re at. We’ve still got things to figure out with her ankle health, and with being caregivers for her grandmother. And, I still feel called to serve and journey alongside the people of Lutheran Church of the Cross and Grace Village. I feel the Spirit moving in and among us, and I look forward to seeing where that Spirit continues to lead us. I think we’ve got something special going at our church, and I hope you do, too.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Robert