Interlude at the Baby Bishop Camp in Chicago


I am writing from my hotel room in Chicago, where I’m sequestered for the four day long Baby Bishop Camp.   I’m missing most of Mountain Camp aka Confirmation Camp at Calumet.  While the beds here are more comfortable I’m missing out on canoe trips, hikes, and good times with Middle schoolers.



Baby Bishop Camp (that’s not what the ELCA calls it) is essentially an orientation to the role of bishop in the Lutheran church.  Today’s topics focused on legal matters presented by two attorneys from the national church.  It was helpful and informative, but they could have shortened it up a bit.  Then again, I wonder how many people have said that about my sermons over the years.  Here is my classmate taking in the session.


In all seriousness, there is clearly an effort by the folks in Chicago to communicate a message to the new bishops.  We want to be a resource for you, we want you to understand some aspects of this role you might not have considered and we want to affirm you.  The best part has been meeting the other new bishops.  Shelly Wickstrom, who actually went to the same college as I is here.  She is the new bishop of the Alaska Synod – and we in New England think that we have a large geographic territory.  Sorry, no more complaining about that Yankees. 

Tonight, I had dinner with Brian Maas, who is the new bishop of the Nebraska Synod.  He and I are about the same age, plus we are about the same height.  So this is good, because we are improving our posture, and discussing options for a game of hoops.  Although he looks stronger than I, so I’m hoping we end up on the same team.  Brian was also elected straight out of the parish, so we have been starting to discuss the challenges and benefits of making the move from congregational life to synod bishop.  I’m hoping we can do more of that this week.


Those of you that know me, will not be surprised that part of what I bring to the conversations here is levity.  After a rather serious presentation on how to handle Sexual Misconduct in our session on legal matters and policies, I said, “well, I’m sure we are all wondering if we could get a recount right about now.”  So we are getting to know one another.


So far they are still letting me come back tomorrow.  I’ll keep you posted.