From the Bishop
About Next Year's Bishop's Election
September 1, 2021

Dear Members and Friends of the Pacifica Synod,

In May of 2022, the Pacifica Synod will hold a Bishop’s election. Since January, I have been discerning whether or not to allow my name to be on the ballot. I have prayed, listened for God’s guidance, and at times wrestled with God over this issue. I have worked with a Spiritual Director, and listened to pastors, deacons, laypeople, friends, and family, as God often speaks to me through other people. I have come to the conclusion that I am not being led to seek a second term. Therefore, I will not allow my name to go forward next May when the Pacifica Synod elects a bishop. I believe God is leading me in a different direction, and thus God is leading the synod to a new bishop.

This has not been an easy decision. It has been an honor to serve as your bishop, and I am proud of what has been accomplished. I have continued to stress that we in the synod are to preach the gospel, love one another, and serve our neighbors. The synod has a strategic plan to guide us in this work, with four Mission Result areas: Strengthen Support for Congregational Ministry, Support Resilient and Faithful Leaders, Deepen Diversity and Inclusion, and Reshape the Pacifica Synod for Sustainable Ministry. We are working on goals through teams and workshops to help bring about these Mission Result Areas. We have a hard-working, dedicated staff with whom it is a pleasure to work, who are strategizing on how to reach these missional goals and offering support to others in this work. We have a great Synod Council, led by Vice President Nicolette Rohr, that is ready and willing to work on them as well.

But I do not feel called to continue the work beyond August of next year. In September of 2022, I will turn 65, and I am finding that I do not have the energy for this job, particularly for travel, that I used to have. Prior to the pandemic, I spent about a week each month on the road. Travel has already begun to pick up and I’m ready for that to end. But more than that, I feel that God is pulling me toward something different. It may be back to congregational ministry, as I have missed being with one congregation, preaching among them, teaching and learning from them, strategizing for ways to share the gospel with neighbors and those in need. Or God may be leading me to a time of rest for a while. I am not sure where God is leading, but only know that it is right for me to step away from this office as of August 1, 2022.

For these reasons, I will not allow my name to go forward. There are many fine pastors in our synod and throughout the ELCA who would be an excellent fit for this role. My prayer is that the person God wants to serve will be moved to allow their name to go forward and that the Synod as whole will benefit from their wisdom and experience.

Until next August, I will continue to work as your bishop. I will do my best to continue to equip, accompany, and support our rostered ministers, lay leaders, congregations, institutions, and agencies. I look forward to continuing the work for the next 11 months. I trust that in May, God will provide the right person to lead the synod into the future.

Thank you for your support, your prayers, and your encouragement. I will miss the relationships I have built with the rostered and lay leaders of Pacifica. Thank you to the many who encouraged me to allow my name to go forward—your comments caused me to pause, pray, and listen for God in a variety of ways. But I do believe this is the right decision. I will keep praying for the right next bishop to be elected in May at our Synod Assembly.

Finally, I leave you with these words from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians: I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6). From my first day in office until now, you have been generous in sharing in the work of the gospel. God will continue to work among you, both during my remaining months among you and as you select your next bishop. God bless us as we work together for the next 11 months, and God bless the synod as you discern whom God is calling to be your next bishop.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Rev. Andrew A. Taylor, Bishop
Pacifica Synod of the ELCA

Together in Christ we equip, accompany, and serve boldly
so all may experience God’s boundless grace.
Together we are Pacifica Synod.

Pacifica Synod, ELCA |