2024 Synod Assembly

May 3-4, 2024 | Franconia Mennonite Church


Watch a recap of the main events of the assembly in the highlights video (above).

Visit our Assembly 2024 YouTube playlist by scanning the code at right.


Chosen, Called, and Sent to Do More in 2024

“Beloved, I trust that six years ago, you elected me because you saw me as a woman of faith, my deep relationship with Jesus Christ, reflected in my words and my deeds, as our Lutheran baptismal promises suggests that we do,” Bishop Patricia A. Davenport said during her address to the assembly. She also acknowledged that in addition to the challenges, she has seen many positive changes throughout the synod which have been a blessing.

”Today’s address is bittersweet filled with gratitude, inspiration, hope, challenge, and farewell. Truly, together, we have come a long way,” she said. “But we know the Lord has made the way. We are not alone on our journey. God has been faithful through it all! The Holy Spirit has been at work, showing up giving us strength for the day and hope for tomorrow.”


Rev. Bryan Penman Elected Bishop

The Rev. Bryan Penman, pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Conshohocken and co-Director for Evangelical Mission in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, was elected Saturday as the synod’s next bishop. Bishop-elect Penman received 203 votes on the fifth and final ballot for bishop. The Rev. Karl Richard, pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Springfield and synod Secretary, received 122 votes.

“I am so humbled that you believe in the work that we do together. This is not me, this is us…we are SEPA synod,” Penman told the assembly following his election. “This is the work that we do together…to continue to practice radical grace. To make sure that the world knows there is a place for them at the table.”

“The election of a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities entrusted to a synod assembly,” ELCA Secretary Deacon Sue E. Rothmeyer told the assembly.

“A bishop is first a pastor. A bishop is a servant. A bishop is a symbol of our unity in Christ’s church. A bishop is a CEO,” she said, “And will need ongoing prayer and support” as a unique public leader who provides guidance and hope.

Word: Stay Connected!

In his sermon at the opening worship, Bishop Yehiel Curry of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod shared good news about the pruning Jesus refers to in John — that it is God’s work. Jesus’ message about our work takes off the pressure, “You just get to stay together.”  God “opens us up so we can see what’s going on underneath.” It can remove “some old thinking, lifting up new ideas.”

“You’re already fruitful. All we have to do is stay together. The community has already got it, so let’s continue to stay connected.”


Word: The Possibilities are Endless

What does a young preacher have to say to an assembly poised at the edge of electing a bishop?

College Sophomore Kendyll Ward, member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Havertown, received a loving embrace from Bishop Davenport as joyful laughter replaced powerful words of proclamation following her sermon as part of Saturday morning assembly worship led by the synod’s youth.

“Let us move forward as branches entangled with the vine, intertwined with one another attached by a deeply rooted love.”

Ms. Ward began her sermon with a story about a life-changing mission trip to Appalachia during which she learned the power of meeting people in open-hearted love while doing the practical work of helping build homes. She ended the sermon with an invitation to imagine new possibilities for the synod and an invitation to build ourselves into a beloved community rooted in love.


ELCA Secretary: We are Chosen, Called and Sent Together


Updates & News LIVE from the Assembly

— Saturday’s Assembly Updates —

Exciting News: Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod has elected a Bishop: Pr. Bryan Penman. Congratulations Bishop-elect Penman! 🥳

Vice President Beasley’s Report: “Once again, SEPA has made history”


Opening Worship: Youth sharing Love for God

“Having the opportunity to go into in unknown place and be welcomed into an individual’s life was powerful… I believe I was chosen and sent to be the love of Jesus that week. To be rooted in a shared and relentless love.”  – Kendyll Ward
Watch Saturday Morning Worship

Learn more about the top seven candidates for Bishop 

— Friday’s Assembly Updates —

Results of the Second Ballot!

The top seven candidates will participate in a live forum at 9 AM on Saturday morning immediately prior to the third ballot. 

View Results of the Second Ballot


Results of the First Ballot are in!
“And now, after taking a deep breath, we are ready to turn our attention to the first ballot.”
Deacon Sue E. Rothman, ELCA Secretary, introduced the procedures for the election of a synodical bishop.
She invited the assembly to center “ourselves in prayer,” reminding the assembly that the election process is both an election and a call process that require prayer, study, and reflection. She shared with the assembly that there are people all across the ELCA holding us and this election in prayer. 
“The election of a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities entrusted to a synod assembly,” she said.
“A bishop is first a pastor. A bishop is a servant. A bishop is a symbol of our unity in Christ’s church. A bishop is a CEO,” she said, “And will need ongoing prayer and support” as a unique public leader who provides guidance and hope.
The first ballot, a nominating or ecclesiastical ballot, is open to any ordained ELCA rostered Minister of Word and Sacrament. Following the first ballot, and if there is no election, anyone nominated will be included in the second ballot unless they remove their names (in writing by a special form available for an hour after the results of the first ballot are shared), the one and only chance one nominated may remove their name.
Deacon Rothmeyer offered a prayer, inviting the Spirit’s presence in the assembly’s discernment. 
View Results of the First Ballot

Bishop Davenport’s Address

“Chosen, Called and Sent to do more in 2024. I am so grateful; we all have the privilege of drawing others into a deeper relationship with Jesus through acts of love.”

Watch Bishop Davenport’s Address


Opening Worship: “An anchor and a launching pad”

Watch Bishop Curry’s Sermon

“Notwithstanding age, there are no signs of decline. A pampered and sheltered life has probably contributed to the longevity of one of the oldest grapevines.” 

The Rev. Yehiel Curry, Bishop of the Metro Chicago Synod and Chair of the Conference of Bishops, began his sermon at the opening service of Holy Communion at the SEPA Synod Assembly with a stunning description of the 250-year-old Hampton Court grapevine. A new synodical bishop will be elected during the assembly following the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Patricia Ann Davenport. 

The root of the grapevine, “acts as an anchor and also a launching pad” for the branches that cascade along the walls and ceiling of the see-through-structure.  

In case you hadn’t realized it, “I’m talking about you,” Bishop Curry said. 

The sermon illuminated the last of the “I am” statements in John’s gospel, and highlighted the connecting, cleansing, and transforming work of the Word of God among the first and current disciples – chosen, called, sent.    

“Even when the future seems uncertain, stay connected…Jesus says the Word is already cleansing us…you’re already fruitful, you only have to stay connected, you already got it…so let’s stay connected.” — Bishop Yehiel Curry, Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA



Download Proposed Program

Friday Worship Bulletin   

Friday Large Print Bulletin   

Saturday Worship Bulletin

News and Updates


Assembly Offering

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You don’t have to be at the assembly in person to contribute to our offering, which will benefit our companion synod, the North Eastern Diocese in Tanzania. Learn more here.



For more information contact:

Ms. Carrie Schwab, assembly coordinator, 

Ms. Cynta Outterbridge, registrar,