Robert A. Rimbo, bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod, resigned from his second term to serve Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, W. 65th St. at Central Park West in New York City, effective Sept. 1.
“It’s an exciting place that needs strong pastoral leadership and strong preaching at this time,” says Rimbo, 55. The congregation’s “Reconciling in Christ” status welcoming gays and lesbians is part of what drew him there. Rimbo has been a supporter of gays and lesbians in the ELCA and wants to continue and increase that justice work, he says, adding, “It’s time for me to act on my beliefs.”
Rimbo, who once served St. Paul Lutheran, Valley Stream, Long Island, vividly remembers being at a worship conference at Holy Trinity and thinking, “I could serve a congregation like this some day.”
“One thing that has mattered to me as bishop is that the synod and bishop be there to support congregations and for that reason I really feel this call returning me to the parish is a call of upward mobility,” he says. “The parish is what it’s all about. This feels very right.”
Rimbo says he’s grateful for the Southeast Michigan Synod’s work on various social issues, “especially our continuing struggle to combat racism in the institutional church and our own congregations. It’s an ongoing struggle our synod has to be at the forefront of leading.”
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