Author Archives: Bishop Craig Schweitzer

About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan.

A Grateful Day Everyday

November 22, 2022

Grace and peace to you from our Savior and King, Jesus!

As followers of Jesus, we recently had the opportunity to celebrate Christ our King! In the United States, we will celebrate an interesting holiday known as Thanksgiving. At the center of both Christ the King Sunday and Thanksgiving Thursday, I believe gratitude or grateful are good words to guide these days.

I had the honor of being a guest in the home of a fellow brother in Christ recently. I always enjoy visits with this brother in Christ and always learn something from him that helps me grow in my relationship with God and my relationship with my neighbor as a follower of Jesus.

My brother has a daily practice that has become a more intentional part of my own faith journey since my visit. A daily expression of gratitude. He begins each day by offering gratitude – for the new day, for good rest, for conversation with friends, for the spider crawling on the window as the sun rose the morning we were together.

For my brother in Christ, being grateful is not something that he thinks about during Sunday worship or on a holiday we call Thanksgiving. It is a daily practice that encompasses all aspects of his life as a follower of Jesus.

During my visit, he introduced me to a group of God’s children who are part of something called Grateful Living. You can find out more about them here – https://grateful.org/. They have a short video that will give you a wonderful introduction to what Grateful Living looks like – https://youtu.be/zSt7k_q_qRU. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time today.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, as we journey through this week of Thanksgiving, I invite you to think differently about what that might mean. What are you grateful for? Maybe you can take a moment to share what you are grateful for with your fellow sisters and brothers, or, if you are comfortable doing so, share it in the comments. I promise you, someone will be blessed by what you share!

Thanksgiving blessings to you this week, and always!

Until next time, may the peace of Christ be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig

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The Communion of Saints and Election Day

November 7, 2022

Grace & peace to you in the name of our Savior Jesus!

Today is a unique day for followers of Jesus. Yesterday in worship, many Protestant congregations, we celebrated All Saint’s Day. November 1 is the actual date for All Saint’s Day. In many Protestant congregations, we acknowledge this holy day on the closest Sunday following Reformation Sunday.

Tomorrow, at least in the United States, we will celebrate Election Day.

On the surface, these two days seem very unrelated.

I invite us to look just a little below the surface and see that these two days share a lot in common.

As we sit in the day in between this year, we have a chance to give God thanks and praise for both –

For the saints in our lives who have died in the faith and join with the eternal cloud of witnesses.

And for the saints who felt called to place their names on a ballot in the hope of being elected to serve citizens in our communities, states, and nation.

I appreciated the overview of All Saint’s Day worship that was offered in one of our church’s worship resources yesterday. “Who are the saints, and what do they have to say to us? Rather than being perfect Christians, the saints are people who have been made whole by the grace of God, through baptism into Christ. The communion of saints is a diverse array of witnesses who remind us of God’s continuing faithfulness, past, present, and future.” [from www.sundaysandseasons.org]

If that is true, which I think it is, there are saints among us who are no longer with us in this world. Yes, even those who drove you crazy…are saints.

There are saints among us, walking with us in this world each day who drive us crazy in more ways than we can count…they are saints too.

And, there are also saints who are seeking public office in a variety of ways during tomorrow’s elections. Yes, even those who you didn’t vote for…are saints.

In the Small Catechism, Luther taught us that “This is most certainly true.”

The saints of our faith journey include God’s children like friends and parents, siblings and grandparents, co-workers and cousins, aunts and neighbors.

The saints of our faith journey also include God’s children like our city and county commissioners, state legislators and district court judges, city mayors, and even those who serve in the United States Congress. And, yes, even those whom we will never choose to vote for in an election, are saints.

On this day in between two days that celebrate the saints God places along our path, maybe we can take a few moments and give God thanks today for all the saints.

Who are some of the saints in your life that you are giving thanks for today???

Until next time, may Christ’s peace be with you always and in all ways…