Dear Partners in Ministry,
On Jan. 6 the District Board of Directors met via Zoom, and they received from me a request for a peaceful release from my call as your District President. After granting my request, they called your First Vice President, Rev. Mike Von Behren, to be the next District President. Pastor Von Behren has faithfully deliberated this call, and on Saturday, Jan. 20, he informed the Board of his acceptance. The entire Board, the District staff, and I are all grateful for this and look forward to his leadership of the District.
Pastor Von Behren would like to conclude his ministry at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Spokane, Washington following Easter this Spring. He would then use the month of April to transition to the District Office beginning on May 1. Mike and I would then have a month of overlap in May, with his installation taking place in Portland on Sunday, May 26. This plan calls for him to officially begin his service as District President on May 1, 2024.
I am extremely grateful to Mike and to the people of Holy Cross for their support of this process. As I mentioned in my announcement video, I am confident he will serve very effectively as your District President and am thankful he is willing to do so. I would ask that you keep him, his wife Jennifer, and his daughters in your prayers. I also ask that you remember the people of Holy Cross, Spokane in your prayers. Mike has served them for nearly 19 years, and they are sending him to us with their blessing. Please pray for their ministry and the next chapter our Lord has in store for them.
I also want to thank you for the many expressions of thanks and support that have come my way over the past three weeks. I have not been able to respond to all of them (I’ve still got a pretty demanding job), but I deeply appreciate the love and care you have shown to me and to Cindy. As I have shared this news with more and more people and have had the chance to talk with them, I am convinced this is the right step to take for me and for the Northwest District. God bless us as we take it together. Read the letter Pastor Von Behren has prepared here.
Serving the Lord and His church,
Rev. Dr. Paul Linnemann
President of the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod