Philip Hirsch elected executive director of ELCA Domestic Mission

By Candice Hill Buchbinder


CHICAGO – The Rev. Philip C. Hirsch was elected to a four-year renewable term as executive director of the Domestic Mission unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Hirsch was elected by the ELCA Church Council at its November meeting. His term will begin Feb. 1, 2019.

Hirsch has served as director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop in the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod since 2009. Before joining the synod staff, Hirsch served as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairfax, Va., from 1999 to 2009. Hirsch was pastor of Christus Evangelical Lutheran Church in Camden, N.J., from 1994 to 1999, and he served his first call at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Camden from 1990 to 1994.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to help serve and lead the church in its mission in the United States,” Hirsch said. “I believe that Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the hope for our broken humanity. I look forward to helping our church grow in its ability to connect a younger and more ethnically and economically diverse people with the gospel. I am confident because I know the Holy Spirit always gives us wisdom, power and love far greater than the challenges we face.”

Hirsch received his Bachelor of Arts from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., in 1986 and his Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1990. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries. Hirsch earned his Doctor of Ministry in homiletics from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in 1997.

The current executive director for Domestic Mission, the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, has served since January 2008 and is retiring from the position Jan. 31, 2019. 

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.4 million members in more than 9,100 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

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Candice Hill Buchbinder

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