calendar May 7, 2024 in 2024 Bishop Election, Bishop, Bishop messages

Rev. Bryan Penman Elected Next Synod 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, to know that God’s grace goes to them because there is a lot of messaging in this world that tells them they are not enough.”

“This church is alive. The Spirit is moving. And the Spirit will guide us into a more beautiful church than we can imagine.” – Bishop-Elect Bryan Penman

In his role as co-Director for Evangelical Mission, Penman has stressed the need for congregations to reach beyond their four walls and listen for — and meet — needs of their neighbors. He was a driving force behind the synod’s Love Revolution proposal, which will proceed with a more than $1-million grant from The Lilly Endowment, Inc.

“I have a feeling that God is on the move among us to do something extraordinarily new. So much so that it is bigger that programs, bigger than buildings, bigger than budgets. It’s a movement. It’s a revolution,” Penman said.

That revolution may look like community organizing, holding the hand of someone with a cancer diagnosis, making sure someone has a meal — even if it comes via Door Dash. And it may require asking new questions, such as can a congregation sustain full-time ministry, or do they need to be in their building.

“It grieves me that we do not have enough rostered leaders for this church. But what gives me hope is that God has equipped YOU. And you will make amazing things happen.”

Bishop-elect Penman will assume office on September 1, succeeding The Rev. Dr. Patricia A. Davenport, who is retiring after serving as bishop since 2018. He will be installed on Saturday, Sept. 14 (time and place to be determined).

Remarks from Bishop-elect Penman