The Rev. Daniel May will leave legacy of pastoral care when he retires as president of the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

The Rev. Daniel May is retiring after 15 years as president of the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. (Courtesy of the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)

The Rev. Daniel May spent a majority of his ministry career as a pastor in a congregation, and he carried that focus into the job of president of the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a district staff member said.

“What he brought to this role is a real sense of ministry,” said Dave Ebeling of Bloomington, the current assistant to the president. “He’s a pastor’s pastor.”

May will retire this fall after 15 years as Indiana District president. His successor will be elected this afternoon during the district’s 2018 convention today and Friday at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in downtown Fort Wayne.

May’s term will continue through August to allow the incoming president time to shift into the new role and for his congregation to work on filling his vacancy as pastor, said Ebeling, who has served in various roles with May during the latter’s entire time as president.

The Indiana District, which is headquartered in Fort Wayne, includes 220 churches in Indiana and 20 in Kentucky, Ebeling said. Each congregation can send a pastor and a layperson as voting delegates to this week’s convention.

The district requires the election of a president and board members every three years, Ebeling said. Board members can serve a maximum of three consecutive terms in the same post, but there is no term limit on the president.

Ebeling said May, who was elected to his first term as president in June 2003, was a successful congregation pastor before becoming president.

May, who grew up on a farm in the South Bend area, served first as pastor of a small church in Natchez, Miss., and then served as an assistant pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 7710 E. State Blvd. in Fort Wayne, Ebeling said.

May then spent 28 years as pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Lafayette in west-central Indiana, Ebeling said.

“He’s a good preacher, and he loves to be with the people,” he said of May. “He calls it the ministry of presence.”

May believed he or a member of the district staff should be at congregations for important events, whether to congratulate, console or express sympathy.

May also believes in treating people compassionately but honestly regarding their life and faith, Ebeling said.

“Another thing I heard from him often is, ‘We always tell the truth in love,'” he said.

Ebeling describes May as a good listener and someone who always is prepared for meetings. May also enjoys telling stories and is good at it.

Even after retiring, May likely will stay active in some aspects of ministry, Ebeling said.

May and his wife, Judy, also will be able to spend more time with their four children and 12 grandchildren.

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