From a Bishop's Desk

A series of opinion articles and essays from bishop's of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ecumenical partners.


Travels in Slovakia

May 03, 2024
Greetings in this Easter season, dear siblings in Christ. I love this season because it reminds me that we are, by God’s grace through the Resurrection of Jesus, an Easter people! I recently had an opportunity to experience a little of what this means for the Church. On the Tuesday after Easter Sunday, Marianne and I left for a week-long trip to Slovakia. Not an anticipated vacation destination? It wasn’t a vacation in the typical sense. Let me explain.

Day of Mourning Reflection

Dec 10, 2023
The Day of Mourning spoke powerfully of the persistent implications of a failure to recognize all people as God’s children and, therefore, siblings of one another.

A Message of Hope for the New Year

Dec 10, 2023
Dear saints, as we find ourselves in the first days of a new year, an opportunity that often brings a sense of possibility and anticipation, I want to encourage us together to remember that our hope is built on God’s grace and peace.

A Message for Black History Month | Week 2

Feb 06, 2023
Knowledge is power. To be responsible, faithful followers of Jesus, we must expose ourselves to the whole story, understood through faith, hope, and love.

A Message for Black History Month | Week 1

Feb 01, 2023
On this beginning day of Black History Month, we are called to honestly acknowledge not only that we haven’t achieved the equality of the kindom God intends (Far from it!) but that, as has happened so often before, forces are resisting and fighting that kindom and attempting to reverse whatever gains have already been made.

“One Nation, Under God, Indivisible…”

Jun 30, 2022
“Indivisible,” of course, means “can’t be divided.” That word wasn’t an accurate description of our country then (it was the late sixties), and it’s still not accurate now. The sad truth is that we are divided. All one need do is spend a few minutes catching up on the news to see just how divided. Let’s consider the latest Supreme Court decisions about gun control and abortion, references that in and of themselves can trigger a reaction. We see the deep and disturbing fault lines in our society.

Juneteenth: When Does A Holiday become A Holy Day?

Jun 16, 2022
Juneteenth: When Does A Holiday become A Holy Day? [...] Juneteenth is more than a holiday. It is a holy day because in its commemoration we hear the voice of Jesus calling us to change and progress in a life of grace for the sake of all God’s people, including ourselves.


Jan 05, 2022
New York State, following updated guidelines from the CDC, has issued an indoor mask requirement in all public spaces. Therefore, it is the official recommendation of my office — for our ordained ministers, lay leaders, and congregations — to adhere to the new state requirements and require masks at worship and all gatherings, even for vaccinated individuals, so that we act as good stewards of our own and one another’s health, and care for all members of our communities.

Black History Month: A Message

Feb 05, 2021
February is Black History Month. Pause with me and consider thoughtfully and faithfully what this means. This month is an opportunity for us to hear again the words of Jesus in his proclamation in the synagogue. As I consider those words, I realize that the perceptions and prejudices of white people have caused and continue to cause immense harm to our African-Descent siblings.


Dec 03, 2020
2020 has certainly not been the year any of us anticipated, and I remain thankful for all of you. The ways in which you help one another, and especially those in need, through acts of kindness, food contributions, volunteering, sharing of important information, donations, and the list goes on and on, is inspiring. I’m reminded daily that the light of God shines through, even in these challenging times, through all of you—God’s empathetic children.


Jul 30, 2020
We have found a way to worship in Spirit and in truth, and we will not, must not abandon it, even when we can be physically together again.


Jun 25, 2020
This week in our world and in our synod, we celebrate Pride. In these events, we recognize those around us and in our congregations who have suffered because of their orientation and identity, and we celebrate with them and thank God for the gifts they bring as members of our communities. We are invited to turn rejection into welcome, after too many years of exclusion.


Apr 14, 2020
We are Easter people. We believe in a God of new life and resurrection. And we don’t have to be dead to experience that! Sometimes we just have to stop. Calm down. Close our eyes. And breathe.


Apr 14, 2020
Somos gente de pascua. Creemos en un Dios de nueva vida y resurrección. ¡Y no tenemos que estar muertos para experimentar eso! Y respira.

The Other Side

Apr 03, 2020
The Spirit-inspired vision was a radical one in which each person’s God-given identity was valued, respected and protected. It was this vision that led to Dr. King’s life being stolen from him on this date 52 years ago, the ultimate act of rejection of his God-given identity.

El otro lado

Apr 03, 2020
La visión inspirada por el Espíritu fue radical en la cual la identidad dada por Dios de cada persona fue valorada, respetada y protegida. Fue esta visión la que llevó a que la vida del Dr. King le fuera robada en esta fecha hace 52 años, el último acto de rechazo de su identidad dada por Dios..

The Third Sunday in Lent

Mar 15, 2020
This is our Lenten time. This is our formation time. In stress and anxiety, we will follow the Spirit and find a way. And in finding that way, we will discover again who we are, who God has created us to be, who Christ formed us to be through his own death and resurrection and by breathing on us the precious Holy Spirit.

For Me, You Are Jesus

Jan 09, 2020
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25). You looked in the eyes of those who are in distress and you said, “For me, you are Jesus.” The other day, Jesus in the bodies and hearts and smiles of many children received your gifts. My friends, I witnessed this miracle of grace! Thank you for your love and generosity. And God bless you.

What Rough Beast Slouching from Ground Zero?

Sep 11, 2019
Just a few blocks away, on a beautiful September day five years earlier, the Twin Towers had come tumbling down, destroying the lives of thousands. For a brief moment afterwards, the world’s attention and our own was focused on what mattered most: our shared humanity, our communal compassion, our deepest spiritual longings and hope. But, too soon, all that changed. In the ripples of 9/11, something ugly has emerged, slouching from Ground Zero: a hardening of the heart toward the stranger amon

This Bishop Loves You

Jul 01, 2019
“You mean I'm not going to hell?” I was stunned. “No,” I said. (Along with Bishop Eaton, I believe there is a hell but it is empty, by the grace of the Father and the love of Jesus.) “God loves you!” He held my hand a little longer and then said, “Come here. Give me a hug” As I did so, he repeated his initial question, “So I’m not going to hell, right?” “No!” I repeated, maybe a little more emphatically this time. “God LOVES you!”

Jericho Walk Reflection

Jun 24, 2019
What was expected of me and those with whom I walked today? To show up. To bear witness. To pray. To challenge anything that denies respect and dignity for God’s children.