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Registration for Voting Members of the 2020 ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly is now closed. There will be no further registration available in order to prepare the online components of the assembly.

Assembly Offering


Media and News Page

Guests and Speakers


Results of the Fifth Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Fifth Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Fourth Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Fourth Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Third Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Third Ballot for Bishop

Biographies for Bishop Candidates

Biographies for Bishop Candidates

Results of the Second Ballot for Bishop

Results of the Second Ballot for Bishop

Corrected Results of the First Ballot for Bishop

Corrected Results of the First Ballot for Bishop

Listen, God is Calling!

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” – Matthew 7:7

About Our Assembly

Saturday, July 25, 2020

2020 is the Thirty-Third Assembly of the South Carolina Synod and the 195th meeting of the Lutheran Church in South Carolina. The 2020 Assembly will include several items of business for our consideration, including the election of a Bishop using the Ecclesiastical Ballot and the presentation of Nominations for other various offices and committees. We also plan to share together in Worship, Bible Conversations, and a Keynote Presentation.

2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime! This is a year when each new day engages us in learning adaptation, resilience and faithfulness. In the midst of the incredible changes to our routines and lives which the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, we have the amazing opportunity to listen even more closely for God’s voice and direction in the way we do ministry together.

Plans for the 2020 South Carolina Synod Assembly have required deep listening to God and to one another as well as a willingness to adapt and make changes to every way that we have ever done assembly before. This assembly has been planned and re-planned several times, including agenda plans for the original May Assembly, plans for a one-day July Assembly Agenda, plans for a Multi-Site Assembly Agenda and now, plans for a Virtual/Online Assembly Agenda. This whole “season” has been filled with learning, adapting and searching for the best possible solution for the people of the South Carolina Synod. It has been our intention from the beginning to listen closely; and our deepest desire, if it was at all possible, to bring forth an assembly that kept everyone in the Synod safe, has integrity, and is faithful to Christ.

We are deeply appreciative to the Pastors and Staff members of St. Stephens, Lexington; Zion, Lexington and Pilgrim, Lexington, who offered to open their doors to the Synod and worked with us to consider and create a Multi-Site Assembly plan. Had the COVID-19 cases decreased in South Carolina this could have been an excellent option. We are also appreciative for your patience with us throughout this entire season as we sorted through the details and sought to learn more about what the best options were for the South Carolina Synod.

The South Carolina Synod will be working with Lumi Global, a tech company, to conduct a Virtual Assembly since we cannot fully come together in person safely at this time. Lumi has provided voting technology at several churchwide assemblies throughout the years. In addition, Lumi has been used on over 800 virtual meetings including IBM, Coca-Cola and the American Medical Association over these past 3 months. This technology will be used to manage the voting which allows us to follow the Ecclesiastical Balloting process as well as all our voting needs.

Voting members will be using Zoom in conjunction with the Lumi online voting platform. If you would like to watch the Assembly proceedings as a guest, there will be a webcast on our South Carolina Synod website. We have researched our options and this option has proven to be effective in other Association meetings where important elections and business has successfully taken place. We realize that this virtual Assembly will be very different than what we are accustomed to, but we are confident that we can get the business of the Assembly accomplished in accordance to our bylaws and procedures.

A detailed email will be sent to each registered voting member to share the secure links and information needed to participate. In advance of this assembly we will also host an orientation session for every voting member to assist everyone in getting comfortable with this platform. Voting Members will need to be registered no later than July 13 at 5:00 pm to receive your credentials to attend this Assembly and to vote. Our staff will be in contact with each congregation to assist in getting Voting members registered correctly.

We look forward to this new and unique way of gathering to listen for the Spirit of God and to do the work of ministry together as the South Carolina Synod.

The number of voting members is determined from the most recent Congregational Report Form. Congregations are added to this list after we receive their Form A. 

Lumi Platform Instructional Video

Bishop Yoos Answers Some Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020 Synod Assembly

Guests, Leaders, & Speakers

We give thanks to these wonderful guests, leaders, and speakers. More will be listed soon.

Dr. Andy Root

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Andrew Root is...

Andrew Root, PhD (Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary.

He is most recently the author of The Pastor in a Secular Age: Ministry to People Who No Longer Need God (Baker, 2019), Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies: Youth Ministry in the Age of Science (Fortress Press, 2018), Faith Formation in a Secular Age (Baker, 2017), and The Grace of Dogs: A Boy a Black Lab and Father’s Search for the Canine Soul (Convergent, 2017).

He has also authored Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross (Fortress, 2014) and Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker (Baker, 2014).  Root puts together theology and storytelling to explore how ministry leads us into encounter with divine action.  His book The Relational Pastor (IVP, 2013) as well as a four book series with Zondervan called A Theological Journey Through Youth Ministry (titles include Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry) break new ground in this direction.

In 2012  his book The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (with Kenda Creasy Dean, IVP, 2011) was Christianity Today Book of Merit.  He has written a number of other books on ministry and theology such as The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Baker Academic, 2010), The Promise of Despair (Abingdon, 2010), Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation (IVP, 2007) and Relationships Unfiltered (Zondervan/YS, 2009).

Andy has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy, and their dog. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Andy spends far too much time watching TV and movies.

Victoria Flood

ELCA Representative

Victoria Flood serves as...

Victoria will assist us and oversee the election process for Bishop. She will be working side by side with our Conduct of Elections Committee. We are thankful for her presence with us and her guidance.

Victoria Flood serves as Director for Mission Support in the churchwide expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Learning more about the ministries of our church through visits in synods and with congregations is one of Victoria’s greatest joys in this position. She is often heard saying, “Mission Support is rooted in our faith and our relationships. It is one of the most tangible ways that all of us in the ELCA demonstrate we are church together for the sake of the world.”

Victoria began serving in this position in March 2016. Prior to that, Victoria served 15 years in the churchwide expression of the ELCA as part of the team in Research and Evaluation. Prior to serving in the ELCA, Victoria worked nearly seven years in Wisconsin state government.

Victoria earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Political Science from Valparaiso University.

She and her husband, Rod Boriack, live in Des Plaines, IL. They are proud parents and grandparents to 2 children – Katy (Christian); Jon (Brooke); and 2 grandchildren – Ayden and Zoe. Victoria and Rod worship at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, IL.

The Reverend Jacqueline Utley

Bible Conversation Leader

The Reverend Jacqueline Utley is...
The Reverend Jacqueline Utley (fondly called Jackie) is a native of Lake View, S.C. Jackie graduated with honors from Coker College (Hartsville, S.C.), earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She attained a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, S.C., as a non-Lutheran. Jackie is a product of the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) and Methodist (AME) traditions. In 2013 Jackie made history as the first African American to be ordained as a rostered leader of the South Carolina Synod of the ELCA. At that time, she became the first African American and female pastor of the Ascension Lutheran Church, in Columbia, S.C.; where she currently serves. Jackie is energetic, passionate, and has a heart for God and for God’s people

The Rev. Dr. Mary Anderson

Bible Conversations Leader

The Rev. Dr. Mary W. Anderson is...
Pastor Mary W. Anderson is currently serving as the interim pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Hilton Head Island, SC. A native of Columbia, SC, she has been in ministry for 37 years serving in SC and Metro Chicago Synods. Pastor Mary is a graduate of Newberry College, the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary) and has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. She is the writer of the devotional blog Ponder Anew and has recently developed a website and accompanying app called MyPocketPreacher that seeks to provide biblical, spiritual, and theological resources for those who have not engaged in a brick-and-mortar faith community as well as those who have disaffiliated from their congregation. Over the decades she has worked at the intersection of church and society most passionately as an advocate for racial reconciliation and for our homeless neighbors. Her husband, Frank, is pastor of St. Michael’s Lutheran Columbia. Their daughter, Colleen, is a director of nursing in North Carolina and their daughter, Elise, is Associate Pastor of Trinity Lutheran, Hixson, TN.

The Rev. Rachel Hoffman

Bible Conversations Leader

The Rev. Rachel Hoffman is...
The Rev. Rachel Hoffman is a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Hill, SC, where she serves with her husband, The Rev. Gregg Hoffman. They have been at Grace since December 2019 and served previously at Lutheran Church of the Nativity in Arden, NC. She specializes in stewardship and outreach, children, youth, and family ministry, and faith formation. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Winthrop Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry (WELCM), which is an ecumenical ministry supported by Grace and a local Episcopal congregation. Pr. Rachel enjoys exploring new places, time at the beach, and eating at great restaurants.

The Rev. Maria Miller

Assembly Chaplain

The Rev. Maria Miller is...
Pastor Maria Miller is a 1990 of Valparaiso University and a 2001 graduate of LTSS. She has been the chaplain of Lutheran Hospice in the Upstate for 16 years and serves as stated supply pastor at Augsburg Lutheran in Union. She is married to Pastor Sean Miller and they have a 13 year old son, Ethan.

The Rev. Joanna Gragg


The Rev. Joanna Gragg is...
Joanna is the Associate Pastor at Mount Horeb Lutheran Church in Chapin, South Carolina. She graduated from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, and was ordained into the ministry of Word and Sacrament in July of 2018. Joanna is a life-long Lutheran, a second career pastor, and a history and literature lover. She lives in Lexington with her husband, Nathan Gragg and their three sons: Jonathan, James, and David.

David Turner

Chief Musician

David Turner is...

David Turner is the Minister of Music and Worship at Ebenezer where he is the primary service musician and accompanist and director for the adult, children’s, and handbell choirs. Recent performances include a recital at the Columbia Trinity Cathedral series in Columbia, SC, a benefit recital at the Roswell Presbyterian Church in Roswell, GA and an extended music education residency in Solidad, Mexico and Cange Haiti with the Lila Duo through which he co-founded The Haiti Music Project.

David has presented workshops and sessions throughout the southeast on service playing and improvisation to organists and other instrumentalists including The Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians of South Carolina, The Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities, and the Greenville, SC chapter of the AGO. As a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians he played host to the national convention in 2010. He is also an active member of the American Guild of Organists and has served in many leadership capacities within the organization. David has served as the President of the Downtown Symphony Club and sat on the board for the Greenville Symphony Association.

Ashton Roberts

Worship and Music Team

Ashton Roberts is...
Ashton Roberts is a 2019 graduate of LTSS, where his wife, Jennifer is still a student. Their son Zion is a 6th grader at St. Peter’s Catholic School in downtown Columbia. Ashton grew up near Kingsport, TN, and lived outside of Knoxville, TN, for 9 years, where they are members of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He served as the stated supply vicar at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Hartsville, SC, and is currently serving his internship at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Columbia

James M Colwell

Music Team

James M. Colwell has...
James M. Colwell is a member of ST. John, Beaufort since 1987. He has served on Church Council on two occasions and also is active as Worship Assistant. He is the Tubaist in the St. John’s Brass Ensemble. Low Brass Section Leader for Lowcountry Wind Symphony, Beaufort and a member of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 12.

The Rev. Angela Jennings

Nominating Chair

The Rev. Dr. Angela Ryan Jennings serves...
The Rev. Dr. Angela Ryan Jennings serves as Pastor at Lord of Life Bluffton, SC. Pastor Angela enters her 22nd year of ordained ministry this year looking forward to many years to follow.

The Rev. Jason Schafer

Reference and Counsel

The Rev. Jason Schafer serves...
Jason Schafer serves as pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Prosperity, SC where he has been for 10+ years. His previous call was as Mission Developer for Crossroads Lutheran in Indian Land, SC. His community service and outreach includes serving on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Retreat Centers, teaching a portion of the Mid-Carolina Middle School Release Bible Study program, and playing music with colleagues at local Nursing Homes monthly. Jason is a graduate of Lenior-Rhyne College and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He enjoys attending concerts with his wife, Deacon Mitzie Schafer, reading, building musical instruments, and camping with Mitzie, Ella (daughter, 16) and Micah (son, 14).

The Rev. Gina Metze

Elections Chairperson

The Rev. Gina Metze is...
The Rev. Gina Metze is a 2013 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Gina serves as the pastor of Mount Hermon Lutheran Church, West Columbia, SC. She previoiusly served as Pastor at St. James, Summit, SC.
She lives in Lexington with her husband, Dion. They have one daughter, Breanna.

The Rev. Mike Watson

Elections Chairperson

The Rev. Mike Watson is...
The Rev. Michael Watson lives in Lexington, SC, with his wife Alyssa. He serves as the pastor of Nazareth Lutheran Church, Lexington, SC. He is a 2002 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He has served on the Conduct of Elections Committee the last two years and was also on the committee in 2015.  He is the treasurer for the Saxe Gotha Conference Rostered Leaders Group.  He is in an ecumenical breakfast group with a number of Church of God, Baptist, and Non-Denominational pastors.  They hold a joint community worship service in November where they pool their money and prepare over 500 food bags to hand out in their community at Thanksgiving.  They also partner with Lexington District 1 School system to provide clothing and school supplies to the District 1 schools who have the greatest need for these items. 

The Rev. Alejandro Mejia

Spanish Language Translator

The Rev. Alejandro Mejia Porras is...

Pastor Alejandro Mejia Porras is a fourth generation Lutheran from Colombia South America, currently serving as the Pastor Developer of Parroquia Nuestro Salvador.

He studied theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in his home country, and through the ELCA Teem Program at Pacific Lutheran Seminary, Pastor Alejandro has college degrees in administration and in Music.

In Colombia, Pastor Mejia worked as a music educator at school and college. He also served San Marcos Lutheran Church. He has worked extensively in programs for children and youth living in communities at risk, and programs designed for the benefit and wellbeing of single mothers, victims of the violence, refugees, development of leadership, among others.

In his spare time, Alejandro loves to spend time with his two-years-old dog Tomas, or doing yoga, working out, or traveling.


Spanish Language Interpreter

The Spanish Language Interpreter...
The Spanish Language Interpreter is to be announced…


In addition to honoring Bishop Yoos upon his retirement, we are pleased to honor the following.

Celebrating 50 years of Ordination

The Rev. James W. Addy & Mrs. Celie

Ordained June 1, 1970 – Retired March 1, 2005

Pastor Addy has served: South Carolina Lutheran Retreat Centers, St. John (Clinton), Orangeburg Lutheran, Faith (Batesburg-Leesville), St. Andrew’s (Charleston), Redeemer (Greer)

The Rev. William C. Ebener & Mrs. Margaret

Ordained June 1, 1970 – Retired July 1, 2006

Pastor Ebener has served: Corinth & St. Mark (Prosperity), Lutheran Homes of SC , SC Christian Action Council, Union (Leesville), Batesburg/Leesville Senior Center, Transfiguration (Cayce), Redeemer (Atlanta), Faith (Batesburg), St. Mark’s (Charlotte), St. Paul’s (Mt. Pleasant) and interims

The Rev. Al Potter & The Rev. Timothea Sharpe

Ordained June 1, 1970 Retired June 1, 2000

Pastor Potter has served: Mt. Hebron (Leesville), Lutheran Homes of SC, Bethel (White Rock), Resurrection (Augusta, GA), St. James (Graniteville), Peachtree Road Lutheran (Atlanta), Jerusalem (Rincon, GA) and various interims

The Rev. Dennis L. Setzer, Jr. & Mrs. Jeanne

Ordained June 7, 1970 – Retired September 1, 2010

Pastor Setzer has served: St. Philip (Myrtle Beach)

The Rev. Gerald W. Smith & Mrs. Christy

Ordained June 1, 1970 – Retired April 1, 2009

Pastor Smith has served: Our Saviour (Greenville), Beaver Lake Lutheran (St. Paul, MN), Mt. Calvary (Excelisor, MN) and Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran (St. Paul, MN)

The Rev. Dr. William Trexler & Mrs. Karla

Ordained June 1, 1970 – Retired August 1, 2009

Pastor Trexler has served: First Lutheran (Norfolk, VA), Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop, St. Mark’s (Jacksonville, FL), Immanuel (Greenwood), Division for Parish Svcs (LCA), St. Peter’s (Miami, FL) and various interims including Holy Trinity (Hickory)

South Carolina Synod Congregational Special Anniversaries

275 Years – Zion Lutheran Church in Lexington Organized in 1745

175 Years – St. David Lutheran Church in West Columbia Organized in 1845

175 Years – Colony Lutheran Church in Newberry Organized in 1845

150 Years – Wittenberg Lutheran Church in Batesburg-Leesville Organized in 1870

100 Years – St. John Lutheran Church in Clinton Organized in 1920

75 Years – Atonement Lutheran Church in Laurens Organized in 1945

75 Years – Trinity Lutheran Church in Georgetown Organized in 1945


Important Notes:

Recommends the adoption of the following “Budget Procedures” to guide the adoption of the 2021-2022 budget by the 2020 South Carolina Synod Assembly.

Budget Procedures

  1. Proposed amendments to the budget must be submitted online no later than Saturday, July 25, 2020, at 10:15 am. Each amendment or resolution to amend must be supported in writing by ten (10) signatures of voting members in this assembly. The secretary shall refer such proposed amendments to the Treasurer and the Finance Committee. During the consideration of the budget by the assembly, the Treasurer or Finance Committee shall report on the implication of each proposed amendment.
  2. Any amendment to the budget that increases a current program proposal expense, or adds a current program proposal to the budget, must include a corresponding decrease in some other current program proposal of the same amount; or an increase in revenues to offset the proposed expense.

Regarding Votes to Appropriate Funds not Approved by Synod Council:
Chapter S10.04.
Any proposal to appropriate funds, whether by amendment to the budget or otherwise, which is presented to a meeting of the Synod Assembly without the approval of the Synod Council shall require a two-thirds vote for adoption.
Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions, South Carolina Synod

Please Note: The deadline for Registration is July 13 at 5:00 p.m. Our staff will be in contact with anyone who has previously registered for the July 25th Assembly first and will then begin assisting with new registrations.

The deadline for submitting resolutions to Committee of Reference and Counsel is Saturday, July 8, 2020, at Noon.

Any additional Resolutions may be submitted online for the Committee of Reference and Counsel for consideration no later than Saturday, July 25, 2020, 10:15 a.m.

The results of the Ecclesiastical/1st Ballot for Bishop will be announced and posted as soon as it is available. Our goal is 11:00 a.m. Each Pastor who is nominated is asked to complete either a Biographical Form or a Withdrawal Form and email it to no Later than 11:40 a.m., Saturday, July 25, 2020. The forms are available on our website and we will put a link in the chat feature during the Results Report.

Report of Committee on Agenda and Program

Report of Committee on Agenda and Program (PROPOSED AGENDA) for the 2020 South Carolina Synod Assembly

Saturday, July 25, 2020


9:00 a.m.

Session One

(As a courtesy, please be sure to mute your microphones unless called on.)

This session's schedule is...

Order for Opening of Synod Assembly

Organization of Assembly

Reference & Counsel Introduction of Special Guests

Report of Synod Council (Part 1) Procedural matters affecting this Assembly

Preparation for Ecclesiastical Ballot for Bishop

Report of Registration

Discernment & Prayer

Ecclesiastical/1st Ballot for Bishop (3/4 votes needed to elect)

*Report: Nominating Committee

*Nominations from the floor of this Assembly must include a completed biographical information form. This form is available here (link here) and we ask that anyone bringing a nomination from the floor complete this form in advance of the Assembly and be prepared to submit the form immediately following the Nominating Committee Report. This completed form must be received no later than 10:22 a.m.

Bible Conversation 1

Introduction of New Leaders of the South Carolina Synod

South Carolina Synod Campus Ministry


10:40 a.m.

Session Two

(As a courtesy, please be sure to mute your microphones unless called on.)

This session's schedule is...

Report of Registration

General Elections: Ballot 1 (Majority needed to elect)

Report of Synod Council (Part 2) Proposed Budget & Treasurer’s Report

*Results of the Ecclesiastical Ballot

*Those nominated will need to complete and submit either a Biographical Form (insert link) or a Withdrawal Form (insert link) immediately following this report of results. One of these completed forms will need to be received no later than 11:40 am.

Keynote Presentation

Reference & Counsel 1

Report of Synod Council (Part 3) Recommendations on Compensation Guidelines & Constitutional Matters

Report from Conduct of Elections: Nominees who are on 2nd Ballot for Bishop

Report of Registration

2nd Ballot for Bishop (3/4 votes needed to elect; determines top 7+ ties)

General Elections: Ballot 2 (as needed) (Majority needed to elect)


12:40 p.m.

Session Three

(As a courtesy, please be sure to mute your microphones unless called on.)

This session's schedule is...
Bible Conversations 2

Results of 2nd Ballot for Bishop

Report: Bishop Yoos

Introductions: 7+ Candidates for Bishop

Reference & Counsel 2 (as needed)

Report of Registration

3rd Ballot for Bishop (2/3 votes needed to elect; determines top 3+ ties)

Celebration of 6 SC Pastors 50th Anniversary of Ordination

Report: Secretary

Report: Vice President

Results of 3rd Ballot for Bishop


2:20 p.m.

Session Four (Including Worship)

(As a courtesy, please be sure to mute your microphones unless called on.)

This session's schedule is...
Celebration Worship

Q & A with 3+ Candidates for Bishop

Report of Registration

4th Ballot for Bishop (60% votes needed to elect; determines top 2)

General Elections: Ballot 3 (as needed) (Majority needed to elect)

Bible Conversations 3

Report: ELCA Representative

Results of 4th Ballot for Bishop


4:00 p.m.

Session Five

(As a courtesy, please be sure to mute your microphones unless called on.)

This session's schedule is...
Report of Registration

5th Ballot for Bishop (Majority votes needed to elect; determines Bishop)

Report of Synod Council (Part 4) Votes: Compensation Guidelines & Budget

Reference & Counsel 3 (as needed)

Results of 5th Ballot for Bishop

Unfinished Business

Reference & Counsel (Final Resolution)

Closing of Assembly & Installation of Synod Council

Mission Partners

Get In Touch

This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here.

We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person–questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world.

Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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