May 3, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Florida-Bahamas Synod,
It is with great joy and thanksgiving that I announce the addition of two members to the synod staff. Giving thanks for the faithful interim ministry of Pastors John Mocko, Terrance Jacob and Wally Meyer, I am excited to announce that two pastors have accepted the call to serve as the Directors for Evangelical Mission/Assistants to the Bishop in the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
Pr. Rob Carlson will serve as the DEM/A2B for the North Region. Serving as pastor in both OH and WI, Pr. Carlson has most recently been the senior pastor at New Life Church in Madison, WI. With an emphasis on hospitality (especially to the unchurched), the congregation experienced a renewed vision from God to “go and grow” and grew rapidly, resulting in purchasing land, building a new facility and relocating. Pr. Carlson is a student of the church and culture, looking to creatively explore the many ways that God is impacting the world. His doctoral thesis focused on spiritual leadership in a vibrant congregation. He is a trained facilitator for Healthy Congregations with Peter Steinke, holds a coaching certificate with CoachNet, and has completed Mediation Skills Training with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. He holds a BA from Gustavus Adolphus (St. Peter, MN), an MDiv from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN), and a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA). Pr. Carlson is married to Dianna, and they have two adult children. Of this move to Florida, Pr. Carlson says, “I am thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to respond to God’s call as a DEM in the Florida-Bahamas Synod.”
Pr. Khader El-Yateem is a Palestinian-American faith leader, community organizer, and father of four. He is the founding pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY, where he has served since 1995. Throughout his ministry, Pr. El-Yateem is constantly working to promote open dialogue and unity, especially among Christians, Jews and Muslims. To that end, he co-founded the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force in 2001 to promote unity and cooperation in his own neighborhood. He is a skilled mediator who is willing to champion difficult issues, including combating neighborhood drug use, especially among youth. Pr. El-Yateem was born in Bethlehem in 1968 and emigrated to the United States in 1992. He holds a Masters of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and a Bachelor’s Degree from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt. He is married to Grace, and they have 4 children. “I look forward to serving in partnership with Bishop Suarez to find creative ways in which we, as a synod can grow and serve all of God’s people,” says El-Yateem, of this call to Florida. “I look forward to visiting with congregations to learn your stories, listen to your joys and concern and inspire you to create ways in which we can be innovative disciples of Christ.”
Pastors Carlson and El-Yateem will be relocating to Florida over the next few weeks and will be present to be installed during opening worship at Synod Assembly.
Thank you for continuing to keep the synod staff in your prayers. It has been a full year of transition for all of us, and I am grateful to all of you for your prayers and support.
Together with you in Christ,
Pedro M. Suarez, Bishop