Bill Gafkjen has served as bishop for the Indiana-Kentucky Synod since 2010. The eight years before that he served as Assistant to the Bishop. Before joining the Indiana-Kentucky Synod staff in 2002, Bill served as pastor and campus pastor for ministries and congregations in Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
Bishop Gafkjen has served as chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, chair of the Conference of Bishops Roster Committee, and chair of task forces that stewarded the ELCA’s transition from three rosters of Word and Service to one roster, known as Deacons. He currently serves on the boards of Capital University, St. Olaf College, and the ELCA’s Mission Investment Fund. He lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his spouse Janet. They have two adult children.
REV. HEATHER APELAssistant to the Bishop for Leadership
REV. HEATHER APEL Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership
Pastor Heather’s responsibilities include Director of Candidacy, Transitions/Call Process Administrator, Interim Ministry, First Call Theological Education, International Companion Synod with IELCH (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en Chile). She is also staff liaison to IK Constitution Task Force, and a member of the Board of IK Women of the ELCA.
Pastor Heather is married to another ELCA pastor, Wade, who is called to Servants of Christ Lutheran in Indianapolis. Together they have a daughter, Jillian, and enjoy spending time together playing games, going on bike rides or hiking. When she is not busy with synod ministry, she enjoys watching and playing sports, baking, and curling up with a good novel. She was born and raised in Florida and welcomes any opportunity to get back down there to see her family and relax on the beach.
REV. DR. DANIEL W. FUGATEAssistant to the Bishop for Discipleship
REV. DR. DANIEL W. FUGATE Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship
Pastor Dan Fugate’s responsibilities include lifelong faith formation; ministry with children, youth, and families; young adult and campus ministry; nurturing the synod’s relationship with the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKPB), Lutheran church in Indonesia; and planning Synod Assembly. He currently serves as Chairperson of the SYMBOL. SYMBOL is the ELCA’s network for synodical youth ministry. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.
Pastor Dan is the synod’s Gathering Synod Coordinator for the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering. He also serves as Co-Chair of the campus ministry boards at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
Pastor Dan is a graduate of Capital University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and has a D.Min. from Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. He lives in Carmel, IN, with his wife, Karen, who is a teacher with Indianapolis Public Schools. They have two sons, Jason and Brent. Jason is a student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Brent is at IUPUI. The family has two Whippets, Gus and Sam.
REV. NANCY NYLAND Director for Evangelical Mission
Pastor Nancy Nyland is an employee of ELCA Churchwide and deployed to the Indiana-Kentucky Synod to serve on the synod staff. She began the DEM position in July 2011. Pastor Nancy has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in counseling both from Eastern Illinois University. She has an M.Div. from Luther-Northwestern Seminary and was ordained in 1990. She served 21 years in parish ministry in South Dakota and Nebraska prior to her DEM position.
Pastor Nancy is responsible for our new start ministries, congregational vitality, stewardship and mission support. She takes the lead for the synod with the Ecumenical-Connect transformational ministry and Beginning Anew processes; facilitates Exploring God’s Expectations with congregations in transition, leads the Inspire. Ignite. Invite spiritual renewal process, facilitates shared ministry conversations, works with the merger, consolidation and holy closure processes; resources congregations in the areas of outreach, evangelism, mission planning, etc.; and partners with Pastor Jerry O’Neal on stewardship and mission support.
Pastor Nancy has one son, Tadd, who attends Ball State University. She enjoys walking, baking, and playing cards and board games.
Pastor Jerry O’Neal serves part-time as the IK Synod Director for Stewardship and Mission Support. In this role, he works with Bishop Bill Gafkjen and Pastor Nancy Nyland to strengthen congregations and leaders in the areas of stewardship and generosity. A native of North Carolina, Jerry graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1993, then served for over seven years in the U.S. Army. Next, he attended Georgia Tech, obtaining a M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Research (mathematical modeling) in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Jerry later attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary, obtaining his M.Div. and being ordained in 2010. His first call was to Calvary, Bluffton from 2010-2016; he has served at Holy Trinity, Muncie since 2016.
Pastor Jerry and his wife Amy have two grown children, and his hobbies include playing music, walking his dogs, and playing chess. He is passionate about helping people view stewardship holistically: stewardship is about “managing all of life with Jesus Christ at the center” (Glenn Taibl). He would be happy to work with you to discover how God might be leading your congregation towards joyful generosity! Please contact him at [email protected] if you would like to know more.
SUSIE SWENSONSynod Storyteller/Communications, Administrative Assistant to Pastor Heather Apel;Database support
Susie Swenson, Synod Storyteller (Communications) Administrative Assistant to Pastor Heather Apel Database support
Susie Swenson joined the IN-KY Synod, ELCA, as their first “Synod Storyteller” (Communicator) on August 10, 2020. She collects, edits, and shares stories and other information via videos, social media, IK Synod weekly newsletters, and website. She also has responsibilities for helping maintain the synod database and carrying out administrative tasks for Pastor Heather Apel, especially content related to Candidacy for Rostered Ministry.
Susie has a master’s degree in School Media from Butler University, and a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Kansas. Susie worked in education first as a special education teacher and then as a school library media specialist for many years. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Andy. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
APRIL LYNCHAdministrative Assistant to Bishop Gafkjen;
APRIL LYNCH Administrative Assistant to Bishop Gafkjen; Database Manager
April started with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod in May 2003.She has worked with Bishop Gafkjen for all those years. She started out as his Administrative Assistant when he was the Director for Candidacy.
April’s role now as his administrative assistant is to tend to his busy schedule and calendar, schedule meetings and help keep his days as organized as possible.
April loves scrapbooking, reading, spending time with her friends and family April has been married 28 years to her husband Juan and they have a adorable 9 year old Shih Tzu named “KG” after one of April’s favorite basketball players Kevin Garnett. April loves basketball and football and is a lifelong Pittsburg Steeler Fan.
CAROL WEBBAdministrative Assistant to Rev. Nancy Nyland, Rev. Jerry O'Neal, and e-Connect
CAROL WEBB Administrative Assistant to Rev. Nancy Nyland, Rev. Jerry O'Neal, and e-Connect
Carol Ann Webb joined the IN-KY Synod in 2008, serving as Administrative Assistant to various staff members over the years. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Denver.
Carol currently serves as administrative assistant for Pr. Nancy and Pr. Jerry, which means she gets to work with stewardship, mission support, and congregational vitality, areas included in Pr. Nancy’s responsibilities. Carol also serves as Administrative Assistant for the new E-Connect (Ecumenical-Connect) transformational ministry process.
Carol is actively involved with the Care of Creation ministry at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon, IN. She was instrumental in installing a labyrinth on the church grounds and has served as organist at St. Peter’s for over 50 years. Praying in Color is her favorite form of meditative prayer.
Carol’s three children “bookend” the United States, with a son in Alaska, a daughter in California and a son in New Hampshire. She has 5 grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys relating to her 4 cats, writing an occasional haiku, and reading a plethora of books.
PASTOR KARL BIERMANNRegional Gift Planner for ELCA Foundation, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio
Karl Biermann, ELCA Foundation IN, KY, OH Regional Gift Planner
A 2004 Trinity Lutheran Seminary graduate, Pastor Karl Biermann served as a parish pastor for 10 years in his native Texas before being called in 2014 to serve as assistant to the bishop in the Northeastern Ohio Synod. His primary responsibility was to match pastors and deacons with congregations through the call process – which can seem more like a matchmaking art than a science!
Pr. Biermann and his wife of almost 23 years, Lana, enjoyed the people, fun attractions, and seasons in Ohio during his seminary studies in Columbus, pastoral internship at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Upper Arlington (Columbus), and campus ministry experience at Capital University. Both more recently appreciated the warm relationships formed residing in the Akron area with their 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.