What We Do

We equip our congregations and leaders for mission and service in the 21st Century, fostering passionate spirituality, vital congregations, adaptive leaders, effective storytelling, and faithful generosity.

7241 Germantown Avenue
Wiedemann Center, United Lutheran Seminary
Philadelphia, PA 19119

267.323.3737
Fax: 267.323.3777
info AT sepa DOT org


The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod

encompasses 152 communities of faith, more than 300 rostered leaders, and nearly 70,000 baptized Lutheran Christians in Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

“The five-county area should be better because Lutherans are here,” says Bishop Patricia A. Davenport. Her vision is that Lutherans and our congregations would make a difference in the needs of their communities, from feeding people and supporting schools to reducing violence and responding to the opioid abuse epidemic.

The Synod’s purpose is informed by the Apostle Paul’s call “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:12).


We equip our congregations and leaders for mission and service in the 21stCentury, fostering passionate spirituality, vital congregations, adaptive leaders, effective storytelling, and faithful generosity.


To that end, the Synod team organizes its ministries around these priorities:

Congregational Vitality

Vital congregations have strong relationships with God and with each other, and maintain a strong presence in their community. Our Director for Evangelical Mission and the Congregational Vitality Team work to empower and equip rostered and lay leaders to navigate and lead healthy change, encourage “Holy Innovations” in the form of new ministries within congregations and starting new communities of faith, provide ideas for effective care of buildings and facilities, and coordinate the distribution of grants and financial resources for innovative and effective congregations. We also focus on faith formation (including a pilot project in Cross+Gen ministry), new forms of leadership development, and strengthening youth and young adult ministries.

Communicating our Stories

In today’s culture, people are drawn to the story of what a Synod or congregation does, and how it makes a difference for people. Synod communications tells the stories of synod and congregational ministries through this website, our email newsletter, videos, images, and social media. We also curate news and resources and track church trends to help our leaders be well informed and more effective.

Vocations and Leadership

A large number of clergy are expected to retire over the next decade, and the ELCA as a whole is experiencing a shortage of rostered ministers. Our Synod is proactive at identifying passionate and missional leaders to help lead us into the next generation and beyond. We do this by raising up future leaders from our congregations under the care of our Candidacy committee, and the mobility process by which we recognize and attract rostered ministers serving elsewhere in the church. We also provide support and resources for congregations in the midst of pastoral transitions.

Administration

The bishop’s call is to provide oversight and pastoral care for the rostered ministers and congregations of the Synod. In this work she is assisted by pastoral and lay staff members who establish and maintain relationships with clergy, lay ministers, and congregation leaders. The Finance office manages the financial resources that your congregation entrusts us with, and that are shared 50/50 with the ELCA churchwide organization. The Synod Assembly is the highest policy-setting body of the Synod. Between annual assemblies, the Synod Council provides oversight.

Sustaining these important ministries requires

Mission Support

The majority of the financial support for Synod ministries comes from Mission Support contributions from congregations. One-half of these funds are passed on to support the work of the ELCA churchwide organization. Mission Support is augmented by extra-mile donations by congregations and individuals to special appeals, including our annual It Takes All the Saints drive. Other funding streams include income on investments, registration for self-sustaining events, and grants from the ELCA and other organizations.

 

What is a Synod?

For more information contact: Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for communications, 267.323.3743, rfisher@sepa.org.