November Issue: Staff Transitions

Office of the Bishop Staff Transitions  

Several staff transitions have taken place at the Office of the Bishop in recent months. We give great thanks for the leadership of these team members who have now concluded their time with the staff to enter into new possibilities. Karen Gieseke and Rev. Linda Gunderson served as Assistants to the Bishop. Karen’s focus was as Director for Faith Formation, and Rev. Linda’s focus was as Director for Rostered Leadership. We pray God’s blessing and joy upon them in their new endeavors! Below are portions of their farewell letters written for all the people of our Southeastern Minnesota Synod.

Original send date: August 25, 2015

Dear Friends,

I have received and experienced the amazing grace of Jesus Christ each time I visited with you, your congregation, your council, your families, and your community. It has transformed me deeply these past four years to be your partner in God’s work in the world.

And it is with sadness, and joy, that I share with you that I have accepted a new ministry position at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, which means I will be encountering Jesus through new people, new congregations, and new communities in the weeks ahead. I am so blessed and privileged to have been part of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod Office of the Bishop! This synod has been forward-thinking for many years, as they planned for and launched a staff position to support ministry in congregations around Faith Formation and Family Ministry. What a privilege for me to serve in this position for the first four years of its ministry! Many seeds have been planted, taken root, and are growing and bearing fruit as you nurture Christian faith in your communities! God invites you to continue tending these seeds, planting more, and inviting the Spirit into the next season in the ministry of the synod and your congregation!

Your Servant and Ministry Partner,
Karen Gieseke


Original send date: September 29, 2015

Partners in Ministry,

It is with sadness and anticipation that I end my call as Assistant to the Bishop on October 31. Sadness because I will truly miss the leaders and congregations of this synod who have blessed me in so many ways. Anticipation because like you, I trust that the Holy Spirit leads the way and will once again lead me into another ministry adventure.

As I prepare to conclude my time here, call committees, those in candidacy and those I work with in other ways will be connected to a leader to walk with them during this staff transition. You can anticipate receiving information from me in the days ahead.

Thank you, and I truly cannot say thank you enough, for your witness and work on behalf of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your witness to me, your sharing of your stories and your faith over these past 8 years.

Blessings and joy in the love of Jesus Christ,
Rev. Linda Gunderson


Stay tuned for next month’s issue of The Bridge! You’ll be introduced to the synod’s two new interim team members: Rev. Susan Miller and Mary Kay Duchene. In the meantime, be sure to visit to read their biographies and learn about what their focus areas will be on the Office of the Bishop team.


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