District Bishop’s Report to Synod 2023
“I’m here to serve you. Church House is your house. Everyone who works there works in support of the ministries you do, wherever you are,” Bishop Mark said, reflecting on his written report to Synod. “We carry the burdens together.”
Bishop Mark introduced the concept of one church, one purpose, many ministries, ahead of a workshop held on Sunday morning, which he co-hosted with Rev David Schmidt, Director of Ministry and Mission.
“The process and the journey are so much more important than the destination,” he said.
He also spoke about a District-wide missional theology: a theology of sharing, a theology of caring and a theology of learning. This will be further developed in collaboration with the Commission for Mission.
Bishop Mark acknowledged that the church is somewhat broken regarding ordination, but he said he felt the door was sufficiently ajar to allow the Holy Spirit to come in and guide church members.
Bishop Mark invited Bishop Emeritus Greg Pietsch to report on the Ministry Future Project. The project was created by the College of Bishops and General Church Board to consider and develop ways of providing Word and Sacrament ministry in the LCANZ, especially with an increasing shortage of pastors and rapid changes in the church and culture. Read Greg’s report, published May 4.
Bishop Mark recognised Pastor Martin Scharnke who has taken up a role with ALWS and Pastor Russell Briese who has moved into the Director of Chaplaincy at Lutheran Services – both had many years of active service in congregational ministry.
In closing, Bishop Mark also offered his gratitude to Rev Nathan Glover as he leaves the Second Assistant Bishop role, Rev Ben Hentschke for his gifts of service in the First Assistant Bishop role, and the Department of Ministry and Mission team including Rev David Schmidt and Kathy Matuschka.
He also thanked District Administrator Trevor Ruthenberg and Bronagh Quinn for their contributions to the District.
He encouraged delegates to trust in the slow work of God, and closed in prayer.