IMA Board Meets with Bishop Eaton, Secretary Boerger

IMA Newsletter May 31 2019

IMA Board Meets with Bishop Eaton, Secretary Boerger

On February 19, the IMA Board met in Chicago with ELCA Secretary Chris Boerger, who had formerly been IMA’s Advisory Bishop (a advisory bishop is appointed by the ELCA Conference of Bishops to certain organizations in the ELCA). Later that same afternoon, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was kind enough to join the IMA Board for another meeting.

Photo of IMA Board Members in Chicago 2019: L to R Daniel DeBlock; Sherrie Hoffman; Richard Klafehn and Richard Mathisen.

2019 Dues are Due! IMA Dues are $60 per year. Dues may be paid by check mailed to the IMA Treasurer: Rev. Robert Hansen, 601 N. Sagehorn Dr, P.O.Box 535, Hartford SD 57033 or paid by PayPal or credit card through the NALIP website, www.NALIP.NET. On that website, click on IMA, then click on Membership, then click on Online.

Meeting with Secretary Boerger. The IMA Board has a traditional once-a-year IMA Board meeting in Chicago, going back at least to 2006. The annual Chicago conference has always included a meeting with the Secretary or top assistant (except 2018). In our meeting, Secretary Boerger covered a large number of topics. Two seem of particular relevance to Interim Pastors. The ELCA continues to have a serious shortage of pastors coming out of our seminaries. The number graduating is less that half the number needed to fill the fully-funded openings in our 65 synods. According to Secretary Boerger, this means that interim terms tend to be longer, because of the lack of full-time candidates available. The other major problem is that more and more congregations are becoming fragile financially. They may not be able to afford a full-time interim. Which means, in many cases, that they cannot afford a full-time pastor at the completion of the interim period. The Board agreed that these problems are being faced in many synods.

Meeting with Presiding Bishop Eaton. This year was the first time that the Presiding Bishop had joined us. It was a pleasure to meet with Bishop Eaton and discuss intentional interim ministry. She mentioned  that she herself had one poor experience in her synod before becoming Presiding Bishop with a particular interim pastor. That experience had made a bad impression on her at the time, but she realized that it shouldn’t be generalized to other interim pastors. She was very supportive of interim ministry and would be happy to be of assistance to us.

Conference of Bishops. IMA Board Chair Rick Klafehn also spoke to The Rev. Walter May, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Executive, Synodical Relations, about IMA’s desire to have another advisory bishop appointed, if that was possible. Pastor May functions as the main contact between the churchwide office and the Conference of Bishops. Pastor Klafehn also prepared a note to the Synod Bishops for the biennial meeting of the Conference of Bishops, which was occurring the following week.

Separation from NALIP. The IMA Board discussed the progress of the planned separation of IMA from NALIP. The IMA Board has approved the separation. The remaining step is the approval by the Board of the Interim Ministry Conference (the similar group in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). Once their approval is secured, the NALIP reorganization plan can be completed. NALIP plans to re-name itself the Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association and become an association of individual Lutheran pastors instead of a group formed from two associations (IMA and IMC).

Separate Conferences of IMN and NALIP in 2019. For the first time, the two national interim pastor conferences (IMA and NALIP) will be held separately in 2019. The NALIP Conference will be held at the usual time in June (June 18-20) at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum MD. The IMN Conference will be held November 11-14 2019, also at the Maritime Institute. IMN decided to change the timing of its conference to avoid conflicts with other church conferences.

Annual Meeting of IMA-ELCA. The official Annual Membership Meeting of the Interim Ministry Association of the ELCA must be held at the June 2019 NALIP Conference. However, the IMA Board will find a way to elect IMA Board Members at both conferences in 2019. Assuming the separation occurs between IMA and NALIP, the location of future Annual Membership Meetings will be changed in an appropriate way.

NALIP Executive Director Ken Ruppar Hospitalized. The IMA Board prayed for Ken Ruppar, who has recently been hospitalized. No further information is available at this time.

Portico Program for Intentional Interim Pastors. IMA members are very pleased with Portico for providing a dedicated expert in dealing with intentional interim pastors since January 2017.  Andrew Feller can be reached at 612.752.4060, or 800.352.2876 ext. 4060, fax 612.752.5060, or [email protected]. The original Portico announcement is attached. (Dan, in case you don’t have it handy.

The IMA Board

Richard Klafehn, Chair

Robert Hansen, Treasurer

Richard Mathisen, Acting Secretary

Dan DeBlock, Newsletter Editor

Sherrie Hoffman

Dwight Wascom

{It would be good to identify IMA board members by synod. However, I’m not sure right now where everybody is located!]