Bishop Claire Burkat

Bishop Burkat Installation

In May, 2012, the Synod Assembly re-elected the Bishop Claire Burkat to serve a second, six-year term.

Scheduling Visits by the Bishop | Bishop’s Biography

Bishop Claire BurkatThe bishop is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament who is called to oversee ministry in the Synod and its congregations, providing pastoral care and leadership for congregations, pastors (Ministers of Word and Sacrament), and deacons (Ministers of Word and Service) on the roster of this Synod.

In addition to preaching, teaching, interpreting the theology of the Church and calling the Synod to mission, the bishop is responsible for coordinating the use of the Synod’s staff and resources, cultivating communion in mission with ecumenical and interfaith partners, and relating to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the worldwide Lutheran communion.


Scheduling Visits by the Bishop

The bishop officiates at ordinations and consecrations of rostered leaders and at some installation services. She also regularly visits congregations for special events. To invite the bishop to visit your congregation, contact Yvonne Curtis at 267.323.3747 or via email as far in advance as possible, as the bishop is often scheduled for congregation, Synod and churchwide events as much as a year in advance.

The following materials are available for you to publicize a visit by the bishop within your congregation and beyond:


Bishop Claire Burkat

The Rev. Claire Schenot Burkat was elected to a second term as bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in May 2012. She took office as the Synod’s fourth bishop on July 1, 2006. She is spiritual leader of the 90,000 members and more than 150 congregations in the City of Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

During her tenure, Bishop Burkat has led the Synod through an extensive strategic planning process focusing on new priorities and avenues for Lutheran witness in the 21st century. Under her leadership the Synod launched the Forward Together in Faith campaign that focuses on equipping congregational leaders, innovating ministry, communicating our stories and building networks. With reduced staffing positions have been reorganized and augmented with volunteer teams and part-time staff to maintain Synod services.

Bishop Burkat has been a leader in local and national ecumenical and interfaith initiatives.  She is co-convener of the Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia, which brings together Christians, Jews and Muslims on issues of concern to the region.  She is a member of the steering committee of Christian Churches Together in the USA, a national body inclusive of the diversity of Christian families in the United States – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Evangelical/Pentecostal, historic Protestant, and historic Black churches.

Ordained in 1978, Bishop Burkat has served the Church of Jesus Christ in a variety of capacities over three decades. At the time of her election, Bishop Burkat served as mission director for the Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. She previously served as an assistant to three Synod bishops and as mission director for the New Jersey Synod.  She has overseen the planting of 16 ELCA congregations and designed a strategy for redevelopment of at-risk congregations that has been adapted for use in the ELCA. Her first call to ordained ministry was to Holy Trinity in Abington, PA.

A native of New York City, Bishop Burkat is a graduate of City University of New York, and received her Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Bishop Burkat resides in Ambler, Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Philadelphia.


Contact:                Yvonne Curtis, director of operations