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Lutherans to install new bishop

Special to The Hays Daily News

OVERLAND PARK -- Lutherans in Missouri and Kansas will install a new bishop Saturday at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park.

The Rev. Roger R. Gustafson is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He was elected bishop in June and officially assumed his responsibilities Sept. 1. The ELCA comprises 65 geographic areas called synods, and each synod is presided over by a synodical bishop. The 53,000 members of the 185 ELCA churches in Missouri and Kansas are grouped together as the Central States Synod.

"Love God, love neighbor. According to Jesus, that's the ethic that fuels a life of significance and abundance, a life that is satisfying before God," Gustafson said in a June news release. "I pray for the wisdom, courage and voice to live that ethic as bishop of the Central States Synod and serve others as they do the same."

The installation will take place at 3 p.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave. The newly elected Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, will preach at the service of Holy Communion, which is open to the public. A reception will follow.

Gustafson was born in Minneapolis, Minn. He served for 23 years as a pastor of Advent Lutheran Church in Olathe. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and a master of divinity degree with honors from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif. The seminary is one of eight in the ELCA.

Gustafson succeeds the Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt, who had led the Central States Synod since 2001.

The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region.

Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians, and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.