THE PASTOR'S CORNER
“Put Up the White Smoke”
It took five votes to elect a new bishop of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, but eventually the white smoke went up the chimney and Pastor Laurie Skow Anderson was elected as our new bishop. Actually there is no black smoke or white smoke, but the election of a bishop is an interesting process. When the election process begins every ordained pastor in the ELCA is eligible to become the next bishop. Going into the election I only knew of one pastor that was not going to be the next bishop of the Northwest Synod and that was me. There is paperwork you can fill out beforehand to eliminate yourself from consideration for bishop and I filled out my form immediately. Somewhere along the line I had a wise person tell me, ―know your limitations‖, being a bishop is way beyond my limitations. There is a reason my mother told others concerning me, ―It is a good thing that boy has a strong back‖. Our new bishop on the other hand is going to excel in her new role. How can you go wrong with a Minnesota farm girl as your bishop! Laurie is not only smart and innovative, but she has a pastoral heart. In my opinion that will serve both Bishop Laurie and all the folks of this synod very well.
There will be many challenges that Bishop Anderson will face in her new role. Most of our congregations in this synod are facing shrinking membership roles. With decreasing membership the decrease of congregational funds is a problem facing many congregations in our synod. Not only is this true in our synod, but almost all mainline denominations are facing the same struggle. The church my parents and grandparents knew has changed. The good news is that the Lord will continue to guide and lead Christ’s church where it needs to go. Bishop Anderson will be a faithful leader in helping us move forward.