June 6, 2022

Dear People of God of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod,

Grace, mercy, and peace be yours in abundance.

Some folks in this synod have been following the events that have transpired with Bishop Megan Rohrer and the Sierra Pacific Synod since the termination of a pastor’s call in December 2021. Others are not aware of this situation at all. This note provides links to documents that provide some background on the situation, as well as a statement arising from a recent meeting of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.

On Friday, May 27th, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton issued a report, detailing her response to the Listening Panel Report (included below).

On Saturday, May 28th, the Asociación de Ministerios Latinos de la ELCA, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice (EDLARJ) issued a statement in response. On this same day, the ELCA Listening Team issued this statement.

On Wednesday, June 1st, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton issued a statement regarding why the entire Listening Panel report was not released. In that statement, the entirety of the Listening Panel report was released, which contains a more detailed background of the events of the past 6 months.

Following the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly this past weekend, the ELCA Conference of Bishops, of which I am a member, met late the evening of Sunday, June 5th and the Conference has issued this statement:

Conference of Bishops met Sunday evening; Bishop Megan Rohrer chose not to attend. The Presiding Bishop shared with us that she is initiating the discipline process immediately, including suspension of Bishop Rohrer, based on additional information that has come to light. The COB strongly affirmed her decision to do this. This process will take time, and Bishop Eaton will provide updates as appropriate.  We remain committed to praying for this church.

Three passages from scripture have kept coming to my troubled mind and aching heart as I have prayed for all involved in this very tragic situation and as we have discussed it in the Conference of Bishops:

“If one member [of the body of Christ] suffers, all suffer together with it.”

(1 Corinthians 12:26)

“The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God…

For in hope we were saved…The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not

know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too

deep for words.” (Romans 8:19-27)

“Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)

I invite you to reflect on these passages and others as you pray for all who have been harmed and those who have perpetrated harm, as you read through the various documents linked here, as you continue to join me in confession and repentance of racism and the disregard, diminishing, and dismissal of others in our life together in this synod and in our personal lives, and as we work together in the power of the Spirit to be the body of Christ we are created and called to be.

Gracious and holy God, lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead us from hate and hurt to love and healing, from war to peace. In all our conflicts, help us to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, to listen for your voice amid competing claims, and to heed your voice and walk and work together in the hard and cruciform transformation of repentance and renewal, being freed and freeing others from bondage and oppression, and the mutual welcome and inclusion of all your beloved and all the diverse and beautiful gifts you give. We pray as we live, in the name of Jesus crucified and risen for the life of the world. Amen (adapted from prayers in Evangelical Lutheran Worship)


Peace be with you,

Bishop Bill Gafkjen


Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA