Overland Park — Thousands of Lutherans in Kansas and Missouri have a new bishop, after Gerald L. Mansholt was installed as leader of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
About 100 clergy participated in Saturday's installation service for Mansholt at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park.
Mansholt, 53, a former Wichita pastor, will lead about 75,000 Lutherans in 220 ELCA congregations in the two-state region.
Mansholt succeeds the retired Bishop Charles Maahs and becomes just the second person to hold the title of bishop since the Overland Park-based synod was formed in 1987.
A 27-year veteran of pastoral ministry, Mansholt said he is "passionate about congregations being engaged in outreach beyond the walls of the congregations into the community."
ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson conducted the installation. In his sermon, Anderson said "nervousness" has become abundant in the United States, with people anticipating another round of terror attacks.
"Most people see life as frail and fleeting," he said. "All of this has so shaken us that we want to recapture our sense of safety."