The Rev. William O. Gafkjen was elected June 5 to a six-year term as bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the synod assembly in Covington, Ky.

Gafkjen is a meeting-planner member of the Religious Conference Management Association.

Gafkjen, 52, assistant to the bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, was elected on the fifth ballot for bishop. Gafkjen will succeed the Rev. James R. Stuck, the synod's bishop for 12 years, who announced he will retire when his term ends August 31.

In an interview with the ELCA News Service, Gafkjen said his election brought to him "a sense of humility that's inspired with the sort of trust that comes with this call." Along with a commitment to the synod, his new call "is an invitation to walk alongside people in a difficult time to try to figure out what it means to be the church in mission," Gafkjen said.

The Indiana-Kentucky Synod has 71,097 baptized members in 220 congregations in Indiana and Kentucky. The synod office is in Indianapolis.