I am pleased to share the good news that Pastor Christina Bright accepted Synod Council’s call to serve as Assistant to the Bishop of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod. We will install Pastor Bright in this office at Closing Eucharist at Synod Assembly. Pastor Bright will complete her ministry as pastor of New Life Lutheran Church of Alcona County in June. After vacation, transition, and orientation, Pastor Bright will be available to the Synod on July 17. Until July 17, Pastor Bright, though installed, is neither available nor authorized to do the work of the Assistant to the Bishop, except in the area of candidacy. We want Pastor Bright to have the time to complete her ministry at New Life well.
Starting on July 17, Pastor Bright will serve as Director of Candidacy, oversee First Call Theological Education, and partner with me in the call process. My list of congregations I’d like Pastor Bright to visit could take four months to complete. Pastor Bright, Pastor Sprang, and I will determine together what else we add to Pastor Bright’s portfolio as she grows in her new role.
I thank everyone who urged me to consider Pastor Bright. I also thank everyone who expressed concern that the Assistant to the Bishop is essentially a two-year term call until the next bishop election in 2025. This is true. The synod staff is coterminous with the bishop. So thank you for your concern for the staff; please know I share it. Concern seems unnecessarily compounded by an assumption that bishops are limited to serving two terms, which is not true in our synod. Our constitution reads, “†S8.51.a. The bishop of this synod shall be elected to a term of six years and may be re-elected.” As part of asking Synod Council to extend this call, I informed the Synod Staff, Pastor Bright, and the Executive Committee of my current discernment about being available to renew my call as bishop. I also reminded Pastor Bright that the Synod must renew my call through the election. In any event, Pastor Bright is of such high caliber that she will have no difficulty receiving her next call, whenever it comes. That Pastor Bright is such a fine pastor and leader is the reason so many of you encouraged me to consider her and I am so excited that she will share ministry with Pastor Sprang and me.
Our synod has exciting possibilities to pursue and important work to do. I am grateful that Pastor Bright is coming alongside to help, guide, teach, challenge, and support us all. Please remember Pastor Bright in your prayers and join me in welcoming her!
The Rev. Craig Alan Satterlee, Ph.D., Bishop