People of Faith,
Our synod does not currently have a bishop. Our previous bishop, Rev. Megan Rohrer has both resigned and has disciplinary charges being brought against them by the other bishops within our denomination. You might see a headline in the Washington Post stating, "Transgender bishop asked to resign by Lutheran denomination leader." While this headline is correct, it is misleading. Rev. Megan is transgender, and uses they/them pronouns, but that is not the reason they have been asked to resign. Their resignation is the result of 6 months of controversy, starting with the decision to remove a Latino pastor from a Latino congregation during that congregation's celebration of the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, one of the most sacred days to the Mexican-American community. That decision alone would not have been enough to remove the bishop from office, but in the months that followed our bishop refused to listen to counsel, misled the wider church about the events that day, and retaliated against people who disagreed with them, including their own staff. You can read the report put together by the wider denomination here.
What does this mean for Faith Lutheran? Thankfully, this does not directly affect our congregation in Chico. Lutheran bishops have very little interaction with local congregations except in times of pastoral transition, and I have no intention of going anywhere. It does mean that our siblings in Christ in Orland and Paradise will likely have to wait for an interim bishop to be appointed before they can continue their searches for new pastors. We also recognize that Rev. Megan had been an incredible proclaimer of Jesus and welcome to the LGBTQIA+ community; many in that community will be grieving the loss of someone who showed them Christ's love. Many in the Latino community are also traumatized and distrustful of our denomination because of Rev. Megan's actions as bishop. It is a sad day for the church, but an important one. Since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, a core part of Lutheran identity has been to name sin and abuse within the church and to hold church leaders accountable. Today, we affirm that tradition as we seek to be a church always reforming.
Your brother in Christ, Pastor Ben