The Retirement of Pastor Mike Bennethum

Dear Northeastern PA Synod,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I want you all to know that Pastor Mike Bennethum has informed me of his intention to retire from his position as our synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission, effective October 1, 2022.

This announcement comes with a range of emotions for all of us. In April 2009 Mike became our synod’s first DEM – and went on to serve in that role for 13 years, with imagination, deliberation, collaboration, wisdom, and most of all, faith. Faith first in the God he loves so well, and faith in God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ. That faith by the Spirit has given him the courage, patience and humor to have faith in God’s people as they seek to follow God’s will, proclaiming the Good News in new ways for new days.

Like you, most of all, I feel joy for him and his family. I feel gratitude for all his years of service, and especially for the past 20 months. As a new bishop, I could not have had a better advisor. He chose to stay on, and not only help power up our new staff, but also help devise and deploy our new vision.

We will have more time and occasion to show our gratefulness and to celebrate, in the next couple months. Mike has also offered to be available to me, to work on special projects in retirement.  More about this will be announced soon.

We will also begin the process of finding our new Director for Evangelical Mission. This is actually an ELCA position – the DEM is employed by the churchwide office, but deployed locally in each synod. The local bishop selects, directs and supervises the DEM, in consultation with churchwide staff. Over the next month, I will be seeking input from folks across our synod, about what we need a future DEM to know, be and do. There will be a formal posting of the position, locally and nationwide, so all who feel called and qualified will be invited to apply.

Meanwhile, I hope you will join me in congratulating Mike, helping him in this transition to retirement, and giving thanks to God for the many ways he has bless this synod and this church.

In the Good News of Jesus,
Bishop Christopher deForest
Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America