A Message from Bishop Mark W. Holmerud
by Kathye Hamm
Three months from this week, we will have just completed our 33rd Synod Assembly, online, where among other items of business we will elect the fifth bishop of our Sierra Pacific Synod. As we prepare for this transition of leadership, Conference Gatherings are being held now and in the weeks to come where discernment conversations will take place. These conversations will be with a team of leaders from our synod and from LEAD (Leading Every Day as Disciples). Please look for an invitation from your Conference Dean and Synod Vice President Gail Kiyomura to be a part of these gatherings, where suggestions can be offered of pastors who might serve as our next bishop. There will also be nominations made for Synod Council Members, Voting Members for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, and other business that will take place at these gatherings. Please make every effort to attend.
Those who work in the Office of the Bishop are also preparing for the upcoming transition of leadership. We are working to make sure synod records are in good order, offices are ready to occupy, and technology and equipment upgrades are made – in short, everything we can think of to welcome the new bishop with as smooth a transition as possible. Which brings to mind the subject of the location of the synod office(s) in the next administration. Ten days ago, we closed the Bay Area Office of the Bishop in Burlingame after ten years in that location. If you ever had the chance to visit that office, you know what a great location it was for meeting with synod staff or holding synod meetings, and you know the amazing views that were sometimes quite a distraction during those meetings! Laurie Gaumer, our Director for Candidacy and Call Process, will now be working out of an office at Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran in San Jose. Equipment from the Bay Area office is in storage or was taken to San Jose and the Sacramento Office of the Bishop.
Which leads to yet another conversation about synod office space. It has been our stated hope to have no long term leases for the next bishop to inherit, so that they and synod leaders can decide the location and number of offices that would best serve our shared ministry moving forward. As of now, the Sacramento office is on a month to month rental agreement, and as you can see from the pictures below our office complex is for sale. The Sacramento Presbytery, from which we have rented our office space, has made the decision to sell the office complex. We will be given two months’ notice to vacate when a sale takes place. Given the fact that many office spaces are not being used because of COVID restrictions, we are hopeful this sale may take some time to complete so that the next bishop will have time to make decisions about new office space. If there are any developments on this matter, information will be shared with the members of our synod.
Please keep all of the above in prayer, as we move closer to our Synod Assembly in May. Trust in the Spirit’s wise guiding and leading as we anticipate a season of transitions. If the Bible tells us anything, it is that the people of God are always at their best when they are on the move!
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