Prayerful Discernment for the Election of a Bishop

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Next Steps

We are now approaching the final stage of the election process – nominations and election at the Assembly May 4-5. This process, which is new for our synod, was approved by the 2017 Synod Assembly.

On Feb. 10, more than 200 people participated in discernment meetings and Bible studies. These Bible studies, taken directly from the ELCA Toolkit for Election of a Bishop, focused on Exodus 18 and were designed to allow rostered and lay leaders to discern together the gifts needed in a bishop. (Scroll down for video highlights.)

Gifts Needed

Here are some gifts and observations lifted up at the Bible studies:

  • Pastoral Presence – Understanding of parish ministry – someone who has been in the “trenches.”
  • Courage to speak through the lens of Jesus Christ.
  • Sense of where church has been and where it is going.  Is not prone to write-off past practices (don’t throw out the baby with the bath water).  This really pertained to multi-point parishes.
  • Visionary – Not someone to leave congregations on their own.
  • Partner People – Action Steps – How to speak to limited resources congregations have.
  • A true recognition of the church and how it looks now and into the future.
  • Do not elect someone “new” just for the sake of newness – (spoke to  current political situation where inexperienced people are put in positions of power or that people put someone new in a position hoping for radical change.)

Identification Process

Now you are invited to prayerfully consider individuals who might possess the necessary gifts. The new pre-identification process works like this:

  • Any ordained minister in the ELCA, active or retired, is eligible for election.
  • Review the Mission Profile and Synod Overview documents.
  • If you identify a person gifted to serve as bishop, you are asked to contact them, and ask them to prayerfully consider whether they would be willing to stand for election. Ask them to pray on this for a week and get back to you with their answer.
  • If the person responds affirmatively, you are asked to fill out the Pre-Identification form and return it as soon as possible to Ms. Beasley via email at
  • The vice president will contact the individual to confirm their interest and ask them to complete the information forms required of all candidates who advance in the balloting.
  • After the person returns these forms, they will be posted on the synod website for review until April 5, 2018. An identified person may choose not to have this information publicized if they so desire.
  • On April 5, information about pre-identified individuals will be removed from the website.
  • Pre-identified individuals are NOT considered nominated for the election, to be held at the Assembly May 4-5.
  • Only individuals nominated on the initial, ecclesiastical ballot on Friday, May 4, will stand for election.
  • View Synod Mission Profile and related documents

If you have questions about the process, please contact Ms. Beasley at


Video highlights:

Introduction to the process by Vice President Tracey Beasley:


Bible study reflection by Seminarian Lenny Duncan (approved for ordination and awaiting call). Keep watching for discussion of Bible study questions:


Explanation of next steps by Vice President Beasley:

Questions? Contact Vice President Tracey A. Beasley at