America met for its annual “assembly” at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Every year, representatives and leaders from every congregation in the synod gather to connect with each other, to share ideas, to learn together, to study the Bible together and to carry out the “business” of the church.
We hear presentations, we pass the annual synod budget, we debate resolutions and we go to break out sessions to learn and grow in our own faith and our understanding of the broader work of the church.
There are things we can do together that we cannot do apart.
Together as a synod we support the larger church, we develop relationships with our sister and brothers around the world, we share in the work of feeding the hungry and caring for those who experience disaster, and we care for those in need.
And every six years, the synod elects (or re-elects) a bishop to lead the 160+ congregations in our geographic area. 2019 was the year of an election. And because our current Bishop, Steven Delzer, has decided to retire, we knew we would be receiving a new bishop to lead us.
The election of a bishop is a lengthy process that actually begins 18 months prior to the assembly when the synod works to clarify its vision, so that a leader can be identified who aligns with our sense of where God is calling us.
The new bishop of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA is the Rev. Regina Hassanally. Pastor Regina currently serves at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Goodhue, Minnesota.
We are grateful to God for the gifts lifted up in Bishop-Elect Hassanally and in all of the candidates, who were willing to make themselves open to the work of God’s Holy Spirit. Pastor Hassanally will be installed as our bishop on Saturday, September 14th in a service to be held at St. John Lutheran Church here in Owatonna.
In addition to the Bishop’s election, the assembly passed new minimum compensation guidelines for congregational professional staff, approved a process for linking congregations together to serve as “parishes,” sharing pastors and passed a resolution encouraging congregations to create educational opportunities for congregations to understand themselves as “ministers.”
Thanks to those from Trinity who went to serve as voting members at the assembly!