ELCA NEWS SERVICE
May 18, 2011
Donald Kreiss elected bishop of ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Kreiss -- who first came into the Lutheran Church through a positive campus ministry experience while he was in college -- was elected May 14 as bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at the synod assembly in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Kreiss, 50, is senior pastor of Antioch Lutheran Church, Farmington Hills. He was previously associate pastor of the congregation for one year before he assumed his current role in 1999.
"I am excited and grateful and a little overwhelmed," he said. "I am enormously privileged to have a job that I love, that is to serve as a parish pastor." Kreiss said he expects that serving as a bishop will be a source of "unexpected grace and a chance to grow in the vocation to which I've been called."
Kreiss grew up as a member of the United Methodist Church. When he was an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., a friend invited Kreiss to University Lutheran Church in Evanston. There Kreiss met the Rev. Dr. Lloyd R. Kittlaus, which began a friendship that continues today.
"He greeted me by name," said Kreiss, who said that made a positive impression and gave him encouragement to keep attending. Kreiss said he taught adult catechism classes after his senior year and joined the congregation.
"It was always been easy for me to remember names," Kittlaus said. "I've long had the custom of naming people as I give the sacrament. It's a way of making the sacrament personal." More than 20 people who attended University Lutheran during their college years became pastors, he said. Kittlaus will retire this summer after 31 years as pastor of the congregation.
Kreiss was elected on the fifth ballot for bishop with 193 votes to 145 votes for the Rev. Niklaus C. Schillack, pastor developer of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Lapeer, Mich. The Rev. Cherlyne V. Beck, executive assistant to the bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod, was also a nominee on the fourth ballot for bishop. There were 35 nominees on the first, or nominating, ballot.
Kreiss will succeed the Rev. Stephen G. Marsh, who resigned as bishop in June 2010. The Rev. Kenneth R. Olsen has been serving as interim bishop of the synod since Marsh resigned. He was also the interim bishop following the 2008 death of Marsh's predecessor, the Rev. John H.K. Schreiber.
Kreiss will become bishop on Aug. 1, and he will be installed as bishop Sept. 24 at a location to be determined.
Born in Milwaukee, Kreiss earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in medieval languages from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry in preaching from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, one of eight ELCA seminaries.
Following his ordination in 1992, Kreiss served as pastor of King of Glory Evangelical Lutheran Church, Flushing, Mich., before he became associate pastor at Antioch Lutheran Church. Kreiss has served as a cluster dean in the Southeast Michigan Synod, as a member of the alumni board of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and as a member of the Farmington Area Interfaith Association.
Kreiss and his wife, Kristin, are parents of two children, Katherine and Perry. The family resides in West Bloomfield, Mich.
The ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod has nearly 57,000 baptized members in 128 congregations. The synod office is in Detroit.
Information about the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod is at http://www.semisynod.com/ on the Web.
* Information for this report was provided by Robin McCants, ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.5 million members in more than 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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