October 16, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Florida-Bahamas Synod,
It is with joy and thanksgiving that I share with you that the Rev. Pedro Manuel Suarez was elected Oct. 13 to a six-year term as bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly Oct. 12-14 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Kissimmee.
Pr. Suarez was elected on the 6th ballot with 334 votes. A total of 230 votes was needed for election. I give thanks to God for all the pastors who were open and available to the call of the Spirit, and for the prayerful discernment of the Assembly. What a gift it was to hear the candidates witness to their faith and vision for the Gospel in their addresses to the assembly, in their answers to questions, and in their overall presence in the Assembly. Additionally, I give thanks for ELCA Secretary Rev. Chris Boerger for his careful oversight of the election, for those serving on the elections committee, and for all involved in the election in any way.
Pr. Suarez currently serves as lead pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Pompano Beach, FL since 2015, as well as recently agreeing to serve as the Interim Director for Evangelical Mission for the south region of this synod. Pr. Suarez earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology of Chicago in 1992. His previous experience includes serving on the synod staff of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, the South Central Synod of Wisconsin, and several congregations in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Pr. Suarez serves on the Latino Strategy Team for the ELCA and is the leader of the Latino Lay Academy of the ELCA.
Pastor Suarez will be installed as bishop at noon on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in New Tampa, FL.
These next weeks will be full of holy conversation and a broad range of emotions for Pr. Suarez, his family, his congregation, and others. Thank you for keeping Pr. Suarez and his family in your prayers. I will be walking with Pr. Suarez, along with the rest of the synod staff and the synod council, through these weeks of transition.
A prayer for Bishop-elect Suarez:
Ever-living God, strengthen and sustain pastors and bishops, especially Bishop-elect Suarez, that with patience and understanding they may love and care for your people. Guide Pr. Suarez and all involved in transition at this time. Grace Pr. Suarez and his family with strength, courage and clarity in the days ahead. Equip him and all whom you have called for the work of ministry and for the building up of the body of Christ. With your Holy Spirit, empower him in this new calling, and grant that together we may follow in the way of Jesus Christ, our Savoir and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Together with you in Christ,