Not many people outside of Lutheran circles probably know very much about Bishop Stephen Bouman, the spiritual leader since 1996 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s “New York Synod.”:http://www.metronysynod.com/
But Bouman, a longtime resident of New City, is leaving and it’s a big loss for the ELCA.
He’s been appointed to an influential national post with the denomination, effective Jan. 1. He’ll be in charge of developing new ministries for one of the country’s bellwether mainline Protestant denominations and for helping the ELCA’s 10,549 congregations grow.
It’s a big job.
His second-term was going to be up in May anyway, so his departure is just a bit early. The synod will either name an interim leader soon or simply move up elections. We’ll see.
Bouman has been a very approachable and engaging leader during a challenging period for the ELCA and other mainline churches. With the denomination’s old-time membership dropping, Bouman has helped diversify the ELCA, welcoming people of numerous ethnicities.
He likes to brag that worship takes place in over 25 languages across the synod, which stretches from NYC up through the mid-Hudson Valley.
Bouman was one of NY’s most active and visible religious leaders after 9/11. Under his leadership, the synod reached out in every way it could to people affected by the attacks.
He continues to talk often about 9/11. I’m sure he will continue to do so in his new job.