Bishop Election Devotional for Ash Wednesday


Exodus 3:11-12a – “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you.”


By Bishop David B. Zellmer (Synod Bishop 2007-present)

I have just returned from my last Conference of Bishops meeting and we have a long-standing tradition within that conference of saying farewell to departing bishops. Those leaving are invited to choose someone who will do your end of service speech to the group. Then the bishop who is leaving has a chance to respond. I am ending my term of service with nine of my colleagues who have served this church as bishops from 18 years down to six.

As each shared their response with the group, everyone identified how inadequate they had felt when they had started. To serve as bishop is so different from serving in a parish, it has such different rhythms, tempos and demands.

We each shared the same thoughts that we hear from Moses’ lips: “who am I that I should go”. We also however, shared the same promise fulfilled each in our own context of feeling the presence of God’s promise alive and active in our serving. The call to serve as bishop comes from the church, but I believe that God is present in the election process and while serving within the office. I invite you to continue to be in prayer as we move toward our Synod Assembly that the Holy Spirit will guide the process of choosing our next bishop to serve as pastor to the Synod.


Oh God of grace and glory,

We give thanks that you call each of us in our baptism to come and follow you. To be servants to the world, each in our own vocation.  We pray dear Lord for the person who will be invited to serve as the next bishop of the South Dakota Synod. Bless them in their transition into this office, bless them as they serve in this office and may they feel your presence as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

All this we ask in Christ’s name,



ELW #798 “Will you come and follow me”



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