The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Synod does a self-study

Sierra Pacific's process reveals key concerns and bishop's 'tough job'

Sierra Pacific Bishop Mark Holmerud was elected in April after the synod completed its first-ever profile. The self-study was meant to focus conversation and help a new bishop consider priorities by identifying key concerns throughout the synod.

Synod participants and churchwide observers give the profile process high marks for connecting congregations and the bishop’s office—and for illuminating such challenges as structure and staffing in a large, geographically and economically diverse synod (see the Sierra Pacific's self-study blog). But Holmerud and some candidates for bishop were concerned that the profile might lead assembly voting members to expect the new bishop to singlehandedly fix synod problems.

Bishop Mark Holmerud was elected after
Bishop Mark Holmerud was elected after the Sierra Pacific Synod completed a self-study.
The Sierra Pacific profile is one of only a handful of such self-studies among the ELCA’s 65 synods (see "Studies in other synods," right). Thirteen themes emerged from its online survey and gatherings in Fresno, San Mateo and Lodi, all California: the bishop’s ecclesiastical duties, the call process, care for pastors, communication, diversity, finances, geography, healthy congregations, identity, leadership development, sexuality, staffing in the bishop’s office and synod structure.

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February issue


Embracing diversity