Bishop selection

Bishop selection process

Brian Keith, current Executive Bishop

This coming June (2018) the members of the Council of the Clergy will nominate a person to serve as the next Executive Bishop of the General Church when our current Executive Bishop, Brian Keith, steps down at the end of June 2019.

Each General Church minister has been asked to seek input from the people he serves as vital counsel in considering this step.  Clergy welcome all counsel about the uses of the church and the candidates.

When the Council of the Clergy nominates someone, his name will go to the General Church Board for consideration and seconding.  Assuming this is positive, his name will be placed before the entire membership of the General Church for affirmation.  When that happens, likely in July or August, there will be extensive information posted on this website for people to consider before they vote.

Candidates for Executive Bishop

Below are the candidates, in alphabetical order and with their ages and current roles. Click on a candidate to learn more, including statements from other clergy recommending the candidate, and each individual's Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume.

Erik Buss (52), Assistant Pastor of Bryn Athyn Church

Recommendations from fellow clergy

Erik would bring much to the office of Bishop: good character; a reverent, warm and disciplined approach to the Word and the study of doctrine; and broad experience in both the geographic variety of the General Church and her uses, including pastoral work, administering rites and sacraments, evangelization, New Church schooling, writing and publishing, counsel and administration.

Erik has served in major congregations with schools—in two as an assistant pastor and in one as head pastor and school principal. He has served as a visiting pastor and a resident pastor of a church-plant congregation. He has served in congregations both in North America and in South Africa.

Erik has administrative experience both as head pastor and as school principal. He has served as Regional Pastor in two regions in North America and in one region in Africa. His international experience has been strengthened by trips to West Africa and East Africa.

Erik has shown a keen interest in the wider church, serving on Bishop's Consistory under three bishops, and on Bishop’s Advisory (in his capacity as Regional Pastor). Since 2010 he has served as a clergy representative on the Board of the Academy of the New Church, and currently serves on the General Church Board’s International Committee and the Outreach Committee.

Through all of this experience Erik is clearly well-acquainted with the kinds of issues the Executive bishop must face.

In addition, the respect Erik has earned from his colleagues is seen in their appointing and reappointing him to serve on the Council of the Clergy the Membership Committee.

Looking at the kinds and abundance of books, articles, and papers that Erik has written and published, we see evidence that Erik's love is to reach out to people where they are and gently guide them to the Lord in His Word. We see a desire to help them find the heavenly delight that the Lord can only give in proportion to a life well-lived: lived according to principles drawn regularly from Him in His Word. His active mind and his ability to listen, consider and respond articulately invite the respect of people with a variety of viewpoints.  Even if he disagrees, they can know they have been heard.

Curriculum Vitae

Erik Buss CV

Peter Buss, Jr (50), Assistant to the Bishop

Recommendations from fellow clergy

Peter has strong pastoral experience, both as an assistant pastor and head pastor of major societies. He has strong experience in administrative positions at the congregational level and at the church-wide level, as an assistant to the executive bishop of the General Church and as overseer of the office of Education. He has lived and travelled outside of North America as well as in North America. He has a background that allows him to understand the many aspects of the complex organization that is the General Church.

Peter has demonstrated a good knowledge of doctrine and ability to organize and articulate this knowledge in effective and inspiring presentations. He presents the doctrines of the Word clearly and in a way that is applicable and in touch with people’s lives.

Peter has a good temperament for a tough job like bishop: energy, strength and interest in leadership. He thinks clearly, responds to people charitably and evenly, maintains a gentle and humble spirit, and projects good will. He listens well, seems respectful of other’s input, and carries through in the decisions he makes. He seems consistently positive and undaunted by the challenges that he is tasked with. As a leader he has faced challenging issues with wisdom and tact.

Peter can provide steady leadership, supporting much of what has been the General Church for decades now, but also has a willingness to consider what might be done differently in the future. This may help support a healthy unity within the General Church.

Peter has formed good friendships with a broad group of lay people surrounding his age. These connections and the conversations that can easily support are a good grounding for a position that could end up being a little removed from that kind of contact. Peter has also been able to form relationships outside of Bryn Athyn through extensive travel to congregations both in North America and abroad.

Peter’s wife, Teresa, has shown a willingness to travel with Peter, which is appreciated by the congregations who are visited. She also has displayed tact and graciousness that has kept her from being identified with a “position” which is valuable given some of the swirling issues of the church today.

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Buss Jr. CV

Glenn “Mac” Frazier (47), Associate Pastor of Glenview New Church

Recommendations from fellow clergy

It seems likely that moving forward, the General Church will need to come to terms with declining congregations during what is ironically a time of unprecedented connectivity.

In North America church participation is rapidly declining. The General Church seems to be experiencing the same thing. This trend could close several of our programs and initiatives and necessitate a retrenchment. One logical response is to shrink into an increasingly conservative, reactionary condition, resistant to all change and disruption. This is an emotionally logical response. However, a better response is to adapt, to experiment, to find new areas of hope and growth that might reach and serve populations in a culture which is in rapid transition. Mac by experience and personality is well suited to lead the church in this regard while avoiding or at least minimizing a polemical, polarizing approach.

Mac has a mind that looks toward clarity and values integrity. He seems to avoid taking public, strident positions on politically charged issues. He thinks from doctrine about the issues. He has his own convictions, yet he seems to dodge unhelpful polarization. This quality gives Mac an advantage as a leader during a somewhat polarized time in the church's history.

Mac has an appetite for bold action and a tolerance for risk, experimentation and for creative thinking. His efforts to plant a church serve as testimony to his humble willingness to think outside the box to make new connections which are founded on timeless principles. He brought the New Church to new people in a new way, and in doing so also re-engaged some traditional youth to aid in the work of that church.

Mac will be amenable to exploring new ways of achieving old ends. With decline in attendance, churches closing doors, and pastorates shifting from full-time to part-time, new approaches to ministry, priesthood, and perhaps even the episcopacy need to be explored. Mac will be willing to consider new avenues—by inviting others into dialog when possible and by taking the lead when prudent.

Curriculum Vitae

Mac Frazier CV

Bradley Heinrichs (50), Head Pastor of Carmel New Church and School, EVP of General Church in Canada

Recommendations from fellow clergy

Brad’s experience in the ministry includes serving as assistant and as head pastor of the Carmel Church, and as headmaster of its School, and also as the Executive Vice President (EVP) of the General Church in Canada. In the latter role, he has served on the Bishop’s Advisory Council.

In addition, he has organized and led quite a few camps and weekends for various groups, including men, couples, teens, and families. Outside of his church work, Brad has also been involved in his local community, e.g. in an organization supporting people with disabilities (spurred by a son with hearing impairment).

Brad’s travels within Canada in his role of EVP, and also his numerous travels to Cuba (to help the nascent church there), show a breadth of experience, and also a high energy-level and strong work ethic.

In his many years of leading the Caryndale congregation in Kitchener, Ontario, Brad has demonstrated his ability to pastor to the many generations of strong individuals there. He is organized, methodical and visionary in how he has approached his job. It is significant that the young adults that have been part of the Caryndale congregation throughout Brad’s nearly 20 years there are more involved in the life of that congregation than we see in many other of our congregations. This reflects both the respect which people have for him and also their clear appreciation of how he preaches and teaches.

Brad is a strong advocate for New Church education, as is evident from his leadership in developing a high school at Carmel Church.

Brad has a sound grasp of doctrine and ability to organize and articulate this knowledge in effective and inspiring presentations. He speaks well on his feet, without being long winded!

Brad has a straightforward, honest approach with people and problems. He approaches people and situations with unending goodwill. While he has clear, strong principles and values, he also easily laughs at himself and at the humor of situations in front of him. He is comfortable in his skin and mixes well with his colleagues. He is tactful and diplomatic when dealing with sensitive issues. He hears and understands opposing and alternate points of view, and leaves people feeling heard. He has the capability of both supporting some of the more conservative voices and also gaining the respect of people who might wish for more change. He has been able to strongly advocate for important values and principles and also carry a pastoral awareness within his message.

In all this, Brad has conviction and courage to stand firm for what the Doctrine actually says and the willingness to apply it, especially when it's unpopular or resisted by the laity and even the clergy. He seems unlikely to get into saying just what people want to hear, and saying different things to different people.

The church over the next decade will face a lot of social and possibly legal pressure to change in ways that are not supported by the Word. Brad will have the fortitude to stand firm on those essentials that keep the General Church in touch with the New Church. At the same time he will have the wisdom to know when to yield for the sake of healthy and acceptable variety.

Brad is a man of strong character, able to lead and inspire the clergy to stand strong for what the Lord teaches in the face of our fallen culture, within us and around us. He has especially been an advocate for the teachings on conjugial love.

It is a testament to his character that Brad has a strong marriage and has raised (and is raising) six children.

Curriculum Vitae

Brad Heinrichs CV

David Lindrooth (55), Director of General Church Outreach

Recommendations from fellow clergy

David is a strong pastor, and his care for people, for the church, for the doctrines is clearly evident in his ministry. As Director of Outreach, David has been a pastor to the pastors. As bishop he would not only be a pastor to the ministers but to the people of the church. He has keen insight into the thoughts and hearts of people both outside and inside of the church. The direction he would lead the church would be one of reaching out, with love for the neighbor, and with the integrity of the doctrines.

David has served in the pastoral field and at headquarters, and so has a broad experience with and understanding of the church and its needs. He has international experience, having served as pastor in Sweden, and having traveled widely in his role of Director of the Office of Outreach. David is well known by all the ministers. Having worked in the General Church administration for many years, he knows how things are done in this system; he will need little or no time to get up to speed.

David is knowledgeable in the Old and New Testaments and the Writings. He is well educated, having attended George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is a voracious reader.

He has also studied more recently at Columbia to get a Master’s Degree in nonprofit leadership. He combines his knowledge and intelligence with a deep faith in and relationship with the Lord, a strong passion for the growth and success of the General Church, and a good and tender heart.

David has a clear and practical understanding of the state of the church in the modern world. He is very much aware of the challenges the church faces as its numbers decline. He is the best candidate to lead the church to reverse this decline. And at the same time, he is not one to simply focus on keeping the church afloat, but rather moving the church toward being a more focused and active church, looking to the future. He sees the potential of the church and works toward fulfilling that potential. The church organization needs a visionary leader, not afraid of change, in order to survive and thrive.

David is a man of courage and willingness to work hard for the church. He has the right qualities, commitment, and vision for the church of the future.

Curriculum Vitae

David Lindrooth CV

Derrick Lumsden (35), Pastor of Sower’s Chapel in Sarver, PA

Recommendations from fellow clergy

Derrick has had a good range of experience, serving in Westville, South Africa as an assistant and as head pastor in a congregation with a school. He is currently serving as pastor of the Sower’s Chapel in Freeport, Pennsylvania, USA. He’s shown a strong interest in the broader church, participating actively on Consistory and other Clergy committees, and offering papers for the Council of the Clergy.

Derrick is an effective leader and caring pastor. During his tenure at Westville Church he skillfully worked to provide clarity and direction during a challenging transitional time. He developed systems and programs that the congregation is still benefiting from today. He has a big heart for his people and was a rock for a number of people through tragic events in their lives. He has strongly-held principles tempered by a surprising, humble willingness to admit when he’s wrong or when someone else’s idea seems better than his own.

Derrick has a passion for ministry that supports marriage and family. In his private life he is a dedicated husband and father who takes his role of providing spiritual leadership seriously.

Derrick is a deep thinker and an atypical one. His insights often shift the way people understand a topic or a text. He likes to examine established ways of thinking—not to tear things down but to tease apart and understand what is of value and what can be improved and clarified. And, while his thinking is informed by his pursuit of knowledge from a variety of sources, he also has a strong commitment to always submit his ideas and opinions to what the Lord says in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Heavenly Doctrine.

One of Derrick’s goals in preaching is to lead people back to a place of worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. In his preaching he regularly emphasizes the importance of a real relationship with Jesus Christ and the need for real repentance—changing our thinking and our behavior, which is only possible with the Lord’s help.

This emphasis on leading people to the Lord, combined with care for people, strong vision and administrative ability, make Derrick a good candidate to lead the General Church and Academy through much needed reforms.

Curriculum Vitae

Derrick Lumsden CV