New executive editor for Forward in Christ

Rev. John Braun

After 16 years of faithful service as executive editor of Forward in Christ, Rev. John Braun has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31. During those 16 years, Braun has overseen a number of improvements in the synod’s official magazine. We are grateful for his service and pray for God’s blessings in his retirement.

Rev. James Pope has accepted the call from the Conference of Presidents to succeed Braun as executive editor. Pope will be installed tomorrow, Wed., Oct. 5, during the regular fall meeting of the Conference of Presidents at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis. Braun will continue in his role until the end of December, but Pope will begin work immediately, working with Braun to enable a smooth transition.

Rev. Jim Pope

Pope was born and raised in Racine, Wis., the youngest of three boys. He received his education at Northwestern Prep (1973), Northwestern College (1977), and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (1981). He and his wife, Cathy, have two grown children, Ashley and Jeremy.

Pope brings a variety of experiences to his ministry. After graduating from the seminary, he was assigned to St. Matthew, Milwaukee, where he served 7 years. After that he served 12 years at Peace, Bradenton, Fla., before taking a call to Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., where he taught history, theology, and staff ministry courses. He retired from MLC in 2021.

Readers of Forward in Christ may recognize Pope’s name because he served as a contributing editor to the magazine, writing the popular “Light for our path” column from 2014–2019. At the same time, he served WELS by answering questions submitted online through the synod’s website.

The position of executive editor of Forward in Christ is a part-time position. Pope will also soon begin serving a six-month, part-time retirement call to St. Mark, Leesburg, Fla.

We pray that God will bless him as he carries out this important responsibility.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder


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