Alumnus named chair of ELCA Conference of Bishops
Bishop William O. “Bill” Gafkjen, a 1979 graduate of St. Olaf College, was recently elected to serve as the chair of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops.
Gafkjen has served as bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA since 2010. He is also a member of the St. Olaf Board of Regents.
While primarily advisory, the role of the Conference of Bishops is significant within the life of the ELCA. The conference elects its own officers, has standing committees, and has a representative to each ELCA churchwide unit and separately incorporated ministry. The conference has a particular role in matters related to rostered leaders and also reviewing proposals before they are passed along to the ELCA Church Council for adoption.
The Conference of Bishops also advises the Presiding Bishop in matters related to churchwide planning and ecumenical relations.
In addition to his work as a bishop, Gafkjen has served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Mora, Minnesota; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Niles, Michigan; Lutheran Campus Ministries at Pennsylvania State University; Evangelical Lutheran Church in Duncanville, Pennsylvania; and Christ the King Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana.
Read more about Gafkjen in this St. Olaf Magazine profile.