Rev. Dennis Konkel of Des Moines, Iowa, is the new executive director of the Lutheran Deaf Mission Society (LDMS). He is the first deaf director of the LDMS.
Konkel, 62, was elected by the society’s Board of Directors May 5. He has served as missionary-at-large in deaf ministry for the Synod’s Iowa District West for the past 10 years, and will continue in that role as he leads the LDMS. He succeeds longtime LCMS blind and deaf ministry executive Dr. Rodney Rynearson, who retired in May from the LDMS post after serving three years.
“Thanks be to God for the many years of service that Rev. Dr. Rynearson gave to deaf ministry in the parish, at the Lutheran School for the Deaf, at the national LCMS, and as executive director of LDMS,” said Rev. Jerold Munz, pastoral adviser for the International Lutheran Deaf Association, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that includes members worldwide. “I thank the Lord for Rev. Dr. Rynearson and others for refusing to allow deaf ministry in the LCMS to sink into oblivion and [seeing] to it that the LDMS was [established].”
Munz said he is “excited” that, for the first time, “the LDMS has elected a deaf person to the position of executive director. My prayer is that Rev. Dennis Konkel will give many years of service as executive director and that many wonderful things will happen under his leadership.”
Konkel, who became deaf when he contracted German measles as a child, is a 1973 graduate of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He worked as a chemist and brain scientist for the National Institute of Mental Health at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington from 1973 to 1985, and then for FIDIA-Georgetown Institute for the Neurosciences at Georgetown University in Washington until 1997, when he began studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He was ordained in 2001 at Calvary Lutheran Church for the Deaf in Des Moines.
The Lutheran Deaf Mission Society, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, was organized in 2008 to help deaf people and their families “see Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” and to train deaf people to reach out to others with the Gospel.
Posted June 7, 2011