12/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. James A. Justman, bishop of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), resigned as bishop of the synod effective Dec. 19, 2013. In a Dec. 20 letter to members of the synod, Justman wrote that it is his hope that "you know how much I have loved this calling, and how honored I have been to share in ministry and mission with you. For personal reasons, the timing is best for me to step away at this time."
Justman began a sabbatical following the October 2013 meeting of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, an advisory body of this church that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary. It was during his sabbatical and time of personal reflection that Justman came to the decision to resign.
"God has poured blessings into my life through the experiences I have shared with you over the years," he wrote. "My heart overflows with warm remembrances of you and how you have inspired my life with your faithfulness to the name of Jesus Christ."
Justman was elected in June 2012 to serve a third, six-year term as bishop of the ELCA East-Central Synod of Wisconsin. He was first elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. Born in Oshkosh, Wis., Justman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Wartburg is one of eight ELCA seminaries. Ordained in 1983, Justman served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wis., and Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Oshkosh prior to becoming synod bishop.
"Bishop Justman served as the chair of the ELCA Bishops Formation Committee. He welcomed many new bishops into the Conference including me," said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. "I ask for your prayers for Bishop Justman and his family and the people of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin during this time of transition."
Information about the ELCA East-Central Synod of Wisconsin is available at http://www.ecsw.org.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 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.
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