Bishop Strickland Shares an Update on Bishop Megan Rohrer and Sierra Pacific Synod

June 06, 2022

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June 6, 2022

Dear church,

Since December, the ELCA has been in turmoil over the actions taken by Bishop Megan Rohrer and the Sierra Pacific Synod in the removal of a Latine Pastor on Our Lady of Guadalupe. From that event of racism, more egregious acts have followed. Because of Bishop Rohrer’s actions and inactions, trust in their leadership and abilities do not hold any longer. I was delighted when we as a church could celebrate a Trans person being elected bishop. However, regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, different ableness, or anything else. When acts and behaviors occur, especially those incompatible with the office of ministry; you are to be held in full account. Bishops are not above this accountability.

Last Friday, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton released a Report to the Church regarding the situation in the Sierra Pacific Synod - https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8147. Following the release of her report, the Listening Team issued a statement encouraging that the full report be made available publicly. The statement can be found here. A few days later, Bishop Eaton then released the full report of the listening team for publication. (Click here for the full report.)  More information can also be found here.

The 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 the suspension of Megan Rohrer, based on additional information that has come to light. The COB strongly affirmed her decision to do this. “…Strongly affirmed” her decision – every bishop in the meeting affirmed Bp Eaton’s decision. We did not say this is a unanimous affirmation by the COB because not every bishop was at the meeting.

This process will take time, and Bishop Eaton will provide updates as appropriate. While the process is being initiated immediately, several steps need to be completed which will take time. The hope is that this will be completed within 3 months, realizing the ELCA Churchwide Assembly is in that timeframe. The discipline process being used is part of Chapter 20 of the constitution.

We remain committed to praying for this church, for the Sierra Pacific Synod, for Misión Latina Luterana & La Iglesia Luterana Sión in Stockton, CA, for Megan Rohrer, and all so deeply affected by this situation. May God continue to guide, direct, and convict each of us to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. We must do better church. We must do better ELCA. I am committed to that hard and faithful work. I pray you are as well.

Sincerely,

+The Reverend Kevin L. Strickland, Bishop

 

[Letter also available as PDF, here]