The land of mission

This last Saturday I had the privilege of being the guest preacher at the Southeast ELCA Assembly.  The invitation to do so, I am certain, was due to Roger Claxton,  our Lutheran colleague  who serves at Grace Episcopal Church, Wabasha. Roger has not only served both the Episcopal and Lutheran churches but has been a model of what it means to be in partnership with others in engaging God’s mission.

On Sunday morning I was blessed to preside at the diaconal  ordination of  Brenda Ziebell as well as have confirmation and receptions at Emmanuel, Rushford.  It was a packed house for this great occasion and a significant number of those gathered were not Episcopalians. In fact, I understand the pastor who read the Gospel serves at both the local Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.

Dashing out the back door immediately after the service I quickly made my way to Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis.  It was another packed house with phenomenal music from St Olaf’s as we gathered to install Ann Svennungsen as the bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod. It was a Spirit-filled occasion and I felt very honored to be the Episcopal Bishop representing the Episcopal Church in the laying on of hands.

In a few short weeks Lutheran pastor and long-time colleague in the northern reservations of Minnesota, Mark Olson, will begin to serve at St. John’s, Onigum. Mark will work with Robert Two-Bulls, our Missioner for DIW and Multicultural Ministry, as an Area Missioner.  Mark’s history and spirit of collaboration makes him a real asset.  Mark joins Roger along with Jackie Ziemer, who serves at St. Martin’s, Fairmont, as gifted Lutheran clergy who are serving in the Episcopal faith communities.

Folks often say that Minnesota is the land of Lutherans. While demographically that may be true, I would suggest that Minnesota is the land of mission and God is calling us as the Episcopal Church in Minnesota to partner with whomever we can  in engaging God’s mission!

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