MOORHEAD, Minn. — Local Lutherans will soon see a new face presiding over the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
After five ballots during the synod's June 7-9 assembly in Moorhead, more than 400 rostered leaders and lay voting members called the Rev. Bill Tesch as its Bishop-Elect. The final ballot results were 265 for Tesch and 161 for the Rev. Genelle Netland. A majority of votes were needed to extend the call.
Tesch, who grew up in Green Bay, Wis., has been serving as the director of evangelical mission and association to the bishop in South Dakota since 2007.
The Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA has 86,927 baptized members in 226 congregations. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
In the ELCA, synod bishops serve a six-year term. Tesch will assume office Sept. 1, with his installation taking place Sept. 8 in Moorhead.
The assembly also elected Sharon Josephson, of Detroit Lakes as synod vice president. The vice president is a layperson who chairs in the synod council, and in the event of a bishop's death, resignation or disability, would consult with the presiding ELCA bishop of the synod council to arrange for the conduct of duties until a new bishop is elected or until the current bishop can continue full duties of office.
Josephson is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, where she has served in a number of roles on committees and as a three-term congregational president, as well as various positions throughout the ELCA. She is a retired senior high school teacher and a former congressional staff member for Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.