Bishop's Page

A Pastoral Word to the Synod After Charlottesville.

Bishop Kusserow's pastoral letter is available for download, below:

Pastoral Word to the Synod after Charlottesville Pastoral Word to the Synod after Charlottesville (163 KB)

Lutheran-Catholic Evening of Repentance

On April 4, 2017, an "Evening of Repentance" was held in conjunction with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, and the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. This service, commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, was held in St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Munhall.

Please click below to download Bishop Kurt Kusserow's sermon:

Bishop Kusserow's Sermon from Evening of Repentance Bishop Kusserow's Sermon from Evening of Repentance (88 KB)

Please check back later for some photographs from the event, or visit the synod's Facebook page: SWPA Lutheran Synod.

July/August, 2017 Reflections from the Bishop

In Case You Missed Synod Assembly:

I hope you were able to come to Synod Assembly this year, but in case you missed it, let me share some of my highlights with you.

Our Youth Convo led us through a reflection on the Stations of the Cross, complete with a sung response to their meditations. The words of the response we sang were many centuries old, but the music had been composed just the day before! As Stewards of the Gospel, our young people brought out of their treasure “what is new and what is old,” as our Lord Jesus said those trained for the kingdom of heaven would do. (Matthew 13:52)

We Walked to Wittenberg! Well, we started to walk to Wittenberg ... or at least we promised that we would participate one way or another in “walking” the 4,203 miles from here to there! As Stewards of the Gospel, our World Hunger Task Force challenged us to raise money for hunger related ministries, and offered devotions to encourage us along the way.

We found we could sing without hymnals in our hands, and that the roots of our faith are not so much behind us, but ahead of us in God’s future. As Stewards of the Gospel, our Synod Chaplain and Keynote Speaker “duet” blended music, prayer and Reformation theology to remind us that Jesus’ work of reconciliation was first understood in the Church as the miracle of bringing estranged people together into one community.

And we formally joined the Campaign for the ELCA. We learned that since the campaign began in 2014, Gospel stewards in our synod have already given $831,529 to the priorities of the campaign. So our goal of adding $500,000 from now to the end of 2019 for the Campaign, and matching that with $500,000 for new and renewing ministries in our own synod, seems like a fitting way to honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and to strive again to be known as “The Missionary Synod.”

We adopted a budget for 2018, while expressing clear concern that it is still not yet the balanced budget we are striving for. We want to be good stewards of all the resources that God has given us, not least of which is the Gospel, what St. Paul calls “the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.” (Romans 1:16) Toward this end, we agreed to prioritize in our 2019 budget those ministries that will help raise up rostered leaders for the Church. God blessed our Gospel work again this year with a pastor who was ordained at assembly, Angela Toombs Smith. Pastor Smith was called to serve Redeemer, Monaca and Trinity, New Brighton.

We elected Gospel stewards to serve on Synod Council and on the boards of our affiliated agencies and institutions. We formally welcomed our sisters and deacons onto the Word and Service roster of our Church, and installed our deans. We opened up a conversation about how best to shape Synod Assemblies in the future, and a conversation about where our congregations and other ministry sites might be in their own mission life cycle.

If you were able to attend this year’s Synod Assembly, you certainly have other highlights that I did not include here. But there is one more I would like to lift up. Pastors Melissa Stoller and Peter Asplin were installed, joining Deacon Beth Caywood and Pastor Sarah Lee-Faulkner on the synod staff, bringing us together to the beginning of a new approach to the ministry of oversight – a non-geographical approach. You may already have heard something about this new approach, and you will likely hear more about it in the near future. Our goal in reshaping the ministry of oversight is to be good stewards of the Gospel. Each of us will tend to a specific aspect of ministry in order to do that critical work with increased proficiency, and to help give adequate time and support to all the valuable ministries to which our people have been called.

It is my great joy to share the Gospel ministry with all of you, the people of our synod. I pray for you. And I am lifted up by your prayers for me. What a delight it is, then, whenever we do gather in a Synod Assembly, to join together in prayer for all the ministries that bless the world God loves so much.

With you in Christ,

+Kurt F. Kusserow, Bishop 

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