The Michigan District thanked Braun for his 18.5 years of service and celebrated his retirement at a reception held in his honor on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at Concordia University Ann Arbor. There were 198 people in attendance and it was a wonderful evening of fellowship and fun. Immediately after the reception, Mr. Travis Grulke was installed as the next Superintendent, and Rev. Todd Jones was installed as the new Assistant to the President – Mission Education and Support.
In response to the group that came to the celebration, Braun said: “I’m humbled that so many of you took time out of your busy schedule to be here. Ecclesiastes 3 says, ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven’. Thanks for coming tonight to Concordia to say good-bye to my season and welcome Todd and Travis as they start their season in ministry in the Michigan District. I hope one of the things you guys can see is how much fun it is to work together as a body of believers and to see how the Kingdom can grow maybe just a little bit through some of the things we do.” Bruce acknowledged his predecessor, George Locke, who helped him get started in the position, as well as many other coworkers and church and school leaders who walked alongside him in his career.
Bruce Braun was born in Milwaukee, Wisc. and attended Lutheran schools through 12th grade. He is a graduate of Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Ill. In 1977, Braun began his career as a high school teacher and coach at Lutheran High North in Macomb, Mich. After twelve years and moving into a counselor role at LHN, he became Assistant Principal at Lutheran High Westland in Westland, Mich. After three years in that role, Braun became the Principal at Guardian Lutheran School in Dearborn, Mich. and served there for 6.5 years. In 1999, Braun was called by the Michigan District, LCMS to serve as Assistant Superintendent of Schools, and later became Superintendent of Schools. In 2008, a Doctor of Laws degree was bestowed upon Braun by the Faculty and Board of Regents of Concordia University Ann Arbor in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding leadership and diligent labor. In the spring of 2017, Braun completed 39 years in Lutheran Education.
Braun has been married to Jayne for 39 years and enjoys hearing his wife describe her teaching ministry to fourth graders at St. Michael Lutheran School in Wayne, Mich. They are blessed with three children: Dan, Brett (married to Erin) and Cara (married to Ryan). They have three grandchildren: Ben, Ellie, and Hudson.
Braun has made a lasting impact in Lutheran education in the Michigan District. Rev. David P. E. Maier, Michigan District President, said: “First, as a pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church and School, I came to know Bruce Braun as a visionary leader who would give his life for children to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and who pursued this passion by helping Lutheran Schools pursue excellence in Christian Education. With the privilege of working with Bruce these last years in the Michigan District Office, I have also come to know him as a biblical scholar, tireless supporter of Christian educators and schools, and a gifted communicator. I am thankful to be able to call him friend.”
Chuck Strohacker, retired principal at Christ, Stevensville said, “Bruce Braun is a humble, gentle leader, and I personally benefitted and appreciated his faithful leadership and example. Most of all, from my contacts with other Lutheran principals and teachers in the District, I know that Bruce was respected and esteemed by his co-workers in ministry. God’s blessings in your retirement, Bruce!”
Braun has a passion for Lutheran schools as a strategy to share Christ. He believes leadership is key to effectively completing this goal and leaders need support and encouragement. In his speech at the retirement celebration, Braun noted that “Change is all around us, and each of us has to figure out how we fit into all that change. Each of us has an opportunity—if nothing else, the opportunity to pray for the church and for Lutheran schools so that we continue to make an impact in the future. (…) How can we sustain Lutheran education into the next century? Because I think it’s one of the best ways we can impact kids for the future. I would invite your prayers for that. I would invite your prayers for Travis as he leads this department now. I would invite you to consider what little things we can do together and individually to see that people hear about Jesus as their Savior.”
Julian Petzold, Principal at Trinity, Clinton Township, said, “Bruce has been a great leader for our District’s schools and early childhood centers because he has never lost sight of the mission to share Jesus Christ with children and families while providing excellent Christian education. His love for Jesus, school leaders, faculty, and students in our schools has always been evident to me. Jesus calls us to love and serve others, and Bruce has done that so well as he has lived for Jesus. I’ll never forget his servant heart as a leader. Well done, Bruce!!”
Braun’s official last day of work will be July 31, 2017. In retirement, he hopes to find new employment, enjoy his grandchildren, and invest time in the activities that make a tremendous difference in people’s lives and eternity.
To see more photos of the celebration, visit the District’s Facebook page.
Photos by Elisa Schuls/Michigan District, LCMS