Bishop Election

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod will be electing a new bishop at the 2018 Assembly.

View results of the second ballot and nominee biographical information here.

Balloting and Election

The Committee on Bishop Elections will oversee the process of ecclesiastical ballot at the Assembly.

In the first (nominating) ballot, voting members may enter the name of any clergy person rostered in the ELCA. Note that individuals pre-identified during the process are NOT automatically nominated, but must be nominated via ballot. On the first ballot, 75% of the legal votes cast are required for election. After the results of this ballot are announced, persons may remove their name from consideration. This is the only point at which names can be removed.

The second ballot will list all candidates nominated on the first ballot who did not withdraw. On the second ballot, 75% of the legal votes cast are required for election.

The third ballot includes the seven persons (plus ties) who received the greatest number of legal votes on the second ballot. These seven candidates will be asked to answer a series of questions before the Assembly prior to the ballot. On the third ballot, two-thirds of legal votes cast are required for election.

The fourth ballot includes the three persons (plus ties) who received the greatest number of legal votes on the third ballot. These candidates will have the opportunity to address the Assembly for up to five minutes. On the fourth ballot, sixty (60) percent of legal votes are required for election.

The fifth ballot is limited to the two persons (plus ties) who receive the most legal votes in the previous ballot. On the fifth ballot, a simple majority of legal votes is required for election. (Should additional ballots be required, they will follow the same procedure as the fifth ballot.)

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Mission Profile and Discernment Resources

“The next bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod should focus on being a “caster of vision” and relationship builder. Additionally, the new bishop should have wisdom, vision, knowledge, and patience, be a pastor to pastors and be a consensus builder. For the synod to show “love of neighbor,” it should make efforts toward “anti-racism,” focus on issues around hunger and homelessness, and economic justice. Success in the synod in three years’ time would manifest as congregations growing in average worship attendance, becoming more diverse, and working for social justice.  Finally, for the synod to be a cohesive Christian community is important as well.” — From the Mission Profile

In the summer of 2017, the synod council of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod appointed a group of active lay and rostered leaders to develop a Synod Mission Profile that focused on the mission of the Synod to help prepare for the election of a Synod bishop in May 2018.

Drawing upon individual and Synod resources, demographic data from MissionInsite, the ELCA Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE), this transition team developed a questionnaire made available in November and December. It asked respondents about their congregations’ successes and struggles, what skills and gifts the next bishop will need, and what role will be most important for the new bishop to fulfill. The survey received 270 responses from rostered and lay congregational leaders. This profile contains information from the questionnaire and from other sources.


Prayerful Discernment

On Feb. 10, more than 200 people participated in discernment meetings and Bible studies. These Bible studies, taken directly from the ELCA Toolkit for Election of a Bishop, focused on Exodus 18 and were designed to allow rostered and lay leaders to discern together the gifts needed in a bishop. (Scroll down for video highlights.)


Here are some gifts and observations lifted up at the Bible studies:

  • Pastoral Presence – Understanding of parish ministry – someone who has been in the “trenches.”
  • Courage to speak through the lens of Jesus Christ.
  • Sense of where church has been and where it is going.  Is not prone to write-off past practices (don’t throw out the baby with the bath water).  This really pertained to multi-point parishes.
  • Visionary – Not someone to leave congregations on their own.
  • Partner People – Action Steps – How to speak to limited resources congregations have.
  • A true recognition of the church and how it looks now and into the future.
  • Do not elect someone “new” just for the sake of newness – (spoke to  current political situation where inexperienced people are put in positions of power or that people put someone new in a position hoping for radical change.)
Video Highlights

Introduction to the process by Vice President Tracey Beasley:


Bible study reflection by Seminarian Lenny Duncan (approved for ordination and awaiting call). Keep watching for discussion of Bible study questions:


Explanation of next steps by Vice President Beasley:

Questions? Contact Vice President Tracey A. Beasley at