A Letter from President Elect Stuckwisch

Pastor Stuckwisch was elected to his first term as Indiana District president at the district’s 23rd convention, held June 23–24 in Fort Wayne. He was elected on the second ballot. Stuckwisch has served as pastor at Emmaus, South Bend, since 1996 and as the district’s first vice-president since 2018. Pastor Stuckwisch and the other elected officers will be installed on September 6.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am honored by my election to serve as the new president of our Indiana District, and I give thanks to God for that privilege and opportunity. It is no less humbling to consider the duties and responsibilities with which I am thus entrusted, and I am praying that our Lord in His mercy will grant me the wisdom and fortitude to serve faithfully to the glory of His Name and for the benefit of His people.

To that same end, I ask that you remember me in your prayers and intercessions at home and as you are gathered together within your congregations. I’ve got a rather large learning curve ahead of me as I adjust to this new office, but already I know that the job is not one I can carry out or fulfill by my own reason or strength, but only by the gracious gifts of God in Christ, by His Word and Holy Spirit. Thankfully, I am confident of His providential care, and I rejoice that our Father in heaven hears and answers all our prayers with a resounding “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus.

Along with learning the office of district president, I am also attending to the needs of my family and congregation, Emmaus, South Bend, as we are all together in a time of transition. It is my hope and expectation that I will remain attached to Emmaus as a pastor of that congregation, as our district bylaws permit, and will serve there as I am able, to the extent that I can without compromising my duties and responsibilities to the church at large. I believe it is important for me to remain deeply rooted in the ministry of the Gospel, for the sake of approaching my work as district president in a pastoral manner, as President Brege has done so beautifully over these past four years. I am truly thankful for the good example he has set, and it is very much my goal and intention to follow in his footsteps, as the Lord so enables by His grace.

Moving forward, I intend to continue the conversation that began within the praesidium over the past four years concerning the structure and governance of our life together as brother pastors and sister congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In particular, I want to find and facilitate more and better ways of providing real pastoral care for the pastors of the district. As everything we are and do depends upon the preaching and administration of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is essential that the ministers of His Gospel be strengthened and sustained in their own faith and life by His Word and Holy Spirit.

As we pursue ways of providing that care, and as we seek to serve and care for all the congregations, schools and workers of the district, I am so very thankful for the men who have been elected to serve as our regional vice-presidents, Rev. Peter Brock (Northeast region) and Rev. Nathan Rastl (Southern), returning to that office for another term, and Rev. David Mueller (Central) and Rev. Erich Fickel (Northwest), newly elected to that office. I know these men as good and faithful pastors, as dear brothers in Christ and as personal friends. When I call on them to assist me or represent me in the coming years, please know that I do so with the utmost confidence in their integrity and pastoral wisdom.

For the past 26 years, almost half my lifetime, I’ve been the pastor of Emmaus, South Bend, and it is the wisdom God has granted me through the care of that congregation that I will bring to bear upon my work as district president. Whatever else He will surely continue to teach me in the task He has now set before me, that is my starting point. I come to you, also, as the husband of my wife, LaRena, with whom the Lord has blessed me far beyond words for the past 37 years, as the father of 10 living children, six of them now married, and as the grandfather of a growing number of “baby grands.” If you already know me at all, you know that my family is the crowning joy of my earthly life. As the Lord thus teaches me to know what it means to be a husband and father, I pray and trust that He will likewise be teaching me to love and care for the pastors and congregations that are the Indiana District in a manner that honors our heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and our dear God and Father in heaven, by whom all fatherhood on earth is named.

President Elect Stuckwisch