May 17 was the one-year anniversary of my election as Bishop of our synod.
It has been a crazy year.
It has been a year of change. We have released old relationships and welcomed new ones. We have figured out how to navigate complicated changes. We have begun to learn how to trust one another.
We had our first synod assembly as Bishop & Synod—a bit chaotic at times, but overall: a good weekend together.
Our Synod office left our space at All Saints’ in Browne’s Addition after 30 years, to move into shared space with the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane in Paulsen House (245 E 13th Ave). This has been a wonderful shift for us as synod staff! Not only is the move saving the synod money, it is also strengthening our working relationship with our closest ecumenical partners, breathing life into how we look at challenges congregations are facing across all denominations—it’s so helpful to know we’re not alone!
We have also welcomed a shared staff member, Melody Green, who works 20 hours per week for the diocese and 20 hours a week for the synod. Melody brings a great spirit, wonderful organization, and is always looking for ways to plug in and help out. She is truly a blessing to us! If you pop into the Synod Office, make sure you get a chance to say hi! (She also keeps Jelly Bellys on her desk. But leave the buttered popcorn ones. Those are mine.)
We are also in the process of strengthening our synod staff. We have just concluded our second round of DEM interviews, and are hopeful that we have found our candidate. There will be more information on that forthcoming. The Director of Evangelical Mission (DEM) is a synod staff member who is paid for by our Churchwide partner. This individual is NOT the Assistant to the Bishop, but is their own entity, given the task of overseeing evangelism, mission, and stewardship in our synod.
I have also been in conversation with candidates for the Assistant to the Bishop position. This position is appointed by the Bishop, and will serve as my direct support in the work that needs to be done in our Synod—work that is far too much for any one person to do alone.
It is my hope that we will have a complete staff, up and running by the time my second year as Bishop starts on September 1.
In addition to location and staffing changes, we are also looking at changing how we are communicating with the synod. We are working with a web designer to build a new website—this website will have current information about happenings in the synod, places to register for synod events, etc. I would like to thank those of you who have donated toward the cost of this website, as well as to Advent Lutheran Church for awarding the synod a grant to help cover the costs of this upgrade.
We are also giving strong consideration to fazing out the Cross Connection, and moving toward an email-based newsletter, or perhaps twice monthly web updates. This will make sure the information that you receive is timelier, as well as save the synod money on paper, toner, and postage. We will be shifting much of our communication to Facebook—if you haven’t gone to look for my Facebook page, please search for “Bishop Kristen Kuempel” and like the page—that is where you can go to get more information about synod events, needs, etc.
Thanks for making my first year as Bishop a memorable one! We are #EWAID!