4 Fort Wayne-area men among 5 candidates for election as next Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Indiana District president

Election of a new district president will be one of the major tasks on the agenda for delegates to the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s 2018 district convention Thursday and Friday at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne.

Five pastors, including two from Fort Wayne and two from Decatur, have been nominated for the role of district president, it said in convention information on the district’s website. Delegates will elect one of the nominees as president during voting Thursday afternoon.

Delegates will include one pastor and one layperson from each voting congregation in the district, the website said. The district covers all of Indiana and 37 counties in Kentucky.

The district vice presidents also will be elected during voting Friday morning.

Here is brief information about the five candidates for LCMS Indiana District president, which was taken from their biographies on the district website. The man elected will succeed the Rev. Daniel May, who is retiring.


The Rev. Thomas R. Ahlersmeyer, 64, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne

A past president of Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich., Ahlersmeyer now serves as an adjunct professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. In the district, he has served as a circuit visitor from 2015 to 2018.

His community work includes serving from 2015 to the present on the boards of directors of The Lutheran Foundation and the Lutheran Inner-City Network Coalition of Northeast Indiana, and from 2012 to the present as a preacher with Worship Anew.

“‘Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy’ (2 Corinthians 1:24). This Scripture passage voices my thoughts on the privileges and possibilities of district leadership.

“Lift high the cross! Lead with the Gospel in good times and in bad! Love as our Lord Jesus Christ in order ‘to encourage and assist the Christian outreach and nurture of Indiana District congregations and other ministries.'”

Ahlersmeyer also is a candidate for election as the district’s northeast region regional vice president.

The Rev. Daniel J. Brege, 65, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Decatur

Brege, who has served as pastor of his congregation for 36 years, also has served as a district vice president from 2012 to the present, including his current role as first vice president. His community work includes serving as pastoral adviser to Decatur Area Lutherans for Life from 1990 to the present and as a preacher for Worship Anew from 1998 to the present.

“Having served in various capacities within the district (vice president, Council for Outreach, Board of Education, Circuit Visitor, totaling 22 years), Brege is aware of the many needs, changes and opportunities for Christ’s work within the district. He also has a basic understanding of the time, personal commitment and some of the work required of the district president.”

The Rev. Peter J. Brock, 34, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Decatur

Brock has held three positions with the district from 2015 to the present – district secretary, member of the board of directors and member of the Committee on Constitutional Matters.

His service work includes being an adjunct professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

“In this next triennium of significant turnover and transition, I pray that the Indiana District, humbly submitting to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, will conserve and promote this unity of the true faith; seek to strengthen congregations and their members in faith toward God and love toward their neighbors; support and encourage pastors, teachers and other church workers, as well as those who study toward service in the church; and walk together in opportunities for outreach and human care.”

Brock also is a candidate for election as the district’s northeast region regional vice president.

The Rev. Douglas Punke, 61, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne

Punke’s service in the district has included being a circuit visitor from 2009-2018 and a member of the Urban Ministry Task Force from 2012 to 2018.

“This is a particularly challenging time for the church in America. Gale-force cultural winds are blowing against the followers of Jesus, winds that drown out the pure proclamation of the Gospel and seek to prevent the church from speaking out. We should not despair, for we have the promises of the Rock that built upon Him and his words, the house will stand, and the sun will shine again through the righteous.

“President May served faithfully and well. I thank him. The question for the new district president going forward is how can we better assist pastors and churches that serve in the center of this storm?”

The Rev. D. Richard Stuckwisch Jr., 52, pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church in South Bend

A current Indiana District regional vice president, Stuckwisch’s service also includes serving as an adjunct professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

“The Church’s work is therefore centered in the proclamation of Christ’s word, that it might be given free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of all people. It is also by and with his word that we are to love and care for one another as fellow members of his body. To that end, it is vital to the life and health of our district that we provide the same pastoral care to the pastors and teachers of the church that we rightly expect them to have for their congregations.”

Stuckwisch also is a candidate for election as the district’s northwest region regional vice president.