Beloved Ones of St. John’s – So, a thing happened.
On Saturday, June 18, 2022, I was called through election to be the next bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. To use the acronyms: NIS-ELCA.
NIS covers 140 congregations and about 100,000 people over a 22 county area, from the Mississippi to the Western Suburbs, from the Wisconsin border to south of Galesburg.
It is a huge transition for me – and for you. That grieves me deeply. It is not a hidden reality that I deeply love this congregation and this community. I don’t have to move to another city – but I also no longer get to serve a community that is so fully entrenched in my heart.
However, two things are true. First – I get to serve you as your Bishop. I will no longer be the day-to-day pastor, however St. John’s is part of the 140 congregations I now care for. There will be more on this later. Second – St. John’s continues to be the body of Christ. This is an exciting time for St. John’s, a time for new possibilities and ministries and to fall in love with a new pastor.
We will take time to say goodbye, and then the current synod bishop, Bishop Jeff Clements, will select an interim pastor to serve St. John’s during this in-between time. After that, a call committee from members of the congregation will be formed to lead the congregation in examining what you need to consider in calling a new pastor. That committee, in partnership with my synod staff, will lead this journey for you. Things don’t happen overnight, the congregation is fully involved in this process.
I hear that a reception is being planned, as well as possible group travel to my installation in Rockford on October 8th. Next Monday, June 27 through Thursday, June 30, I will be at the ELCA national office for Bishop training. Beyond that, I’m in the process of figuring out my end date and scheduling a few baptisms. As soon as I have my calendar, you will have it. We will walk through these weeks together.
Come to think of it, there is a third thing that is true. In the words of St. Paul, Love never ends. St. John’s, each one of you, has my heart, and will continue to have it. My heart just gets to expand and welcome in 139 other congregations in there with you. Please hold St. John’s and me in your prayers. Peace (and love), Pastor Stacie Fidlar