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A Perspective on the Bishop Election Process

The Bishops Election Committee
Deacon Shelley Allen
Melantha Ardrey
Deacon Sarah Bowers
Rev Leroy Cannon
Rev Emily Edenfield
Deacon Lexanne Graves
Rev Wayne Kannaday
Rev Jorge Leone

The survey is now closed

Bishop Election Survey Response Data – Condensed

Bishop Election Survey Response Data – Condensed

Bishop Election Survey Response Data – Complete

Bishop Election Survey Response Data – Complete

At our 2019 Synod Assembly, we began a Spirit led process of discernment around the Election of a new bishop coming in May 2020. As you will see listed below, there has been an enormous amount of behinds the scenes work completed to ensure that our South Carolina Lutheran Christians have been invited into and educated on this process. We ask that you continue to pray for our Bishops Election Committee and Synod Assembly Manager and Planning Team as we continue to discern together the gifts needed to lead our synod in the next six years and beyond.

Here are some points to ponder and to hold in prayer as we move closer to making some very important decisions as a synod (which is all of us!) walking together.

  1. Fall Conference Gatherings—Most of our 9 conferences hosted a fall conference gathering where we listened to one another and engaged together again in this spirit led process of discernment for our upcoming bishop’s election. We read scripture about leadership, discussed qualities and characteristics needed to lead and walk together as a synod, learned constitutionally how SC Synod elects a bishop (via ecclesiastical ballot), and how that process actually plays out during the Synod Assembly. We had great conversations and representation by both lay and rostered ministers. This highlighted for me how very fortunate and engaged in ministry we are as a synod.
  2. Synod Ministry Site Profile and Ballot Process—Your Bishops Election Committee created a Synod Ministry Site Profile called “Who Are We?” which delineated our synod ministry presently. While not conclusive (since it’s a one page, two sided document that is easily digestible), it provides a glimpse into our synod’s missional priorities and specific emphases on which we have been focused. This is similar to a profile that congregations complete who are in a Spirit-led call process for a deacon or pastor. Also, this committee created an easily understandable guide to our Ecclesiastical Ballot used to elect a bishop in our synod. In essence this document translated our constitutional language into an easy to read step by step process and what is gained at each point in the ballot process. Both of these documents are available on our synod website. We strongly encourage ALL VOTING MEMBERS to read these documents.
  3. Synodical Survey—This survey is one more way we are making sure that all 54,000 Lutheran Christians’ voices are heard in this process. Please take the time to spiritually walk through this survey and offer your honest feedback so that your voice can be heard throughout our synod. Even if you attended a fall conference gathering and would like to provide more feedback, please complete this survey. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is working through each of us and we need to hear from everyone at all points through this journey. The feedback received from each of these listening posts—our 2019 Synod Assembly Dinner, Fall Conference Gatherings, Synodical Survey—will be compiled and available to you by April 14, 2020 and posted on our Synod’s website and sent out through our Synod Enews.
  4. Bishop—Our Bishop Herman Yoos was elected in 2008 and then re-elected to a second term in 2014. (Our Constitution states that a bishop can be anyone who is an active Minister of Word and Sacrament from any of our 65 Synods, a bishop’s term is for six years with possibility of re-election, and no term limits.) Bishop Herman has decided to retire on July 31, 2020. We will hold a celebratory retirement dinner on Friday evening, May 15th during Synod Assembly for Herman and Cindy encapsulating 12 years of faithful ministry. Your prayers are appreciated for Herman as his regular duties are now blended with additional duties of preparing for the transition of our next bishop-elect.
  5. Synod Assembly—May 14-16, 2020 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, SC. Our time together will be filled with Worship, Bible Study, Agenda Items, Discipleship Experiences, and of course our Bishops Election. Since there is the possibility of having five (5) ballots for Bishop, then out of necessity, a large portion of our time together is reserved for the Bishop Election Process. As we pray and move through this ecclesiastical ballot, there will be time for candidates to speak briefly and a time for the candidates to answer predetermined questions. These questions will be based upon the information gleaned from YOU from the gatherings and this survey. So your input has been and will continue to be vital throughout this process.
  6. Bishop to Bishop-Elect Transition—The Bishop-Elect will be working with Bishop Herman as well as attending Bishop Training at our ELCA Churchwide offices in Chicago. The Bishop-Elect will work closely with the office of the Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton to plan an inspirational Installation Worship service on Saturday, September 19, 2020.

Please continue to check out our Synod Website ( and familiarize yourself with the wonderful materials your Bishops Election Committee has compiled for you. Even if you are not a voting member, these resources will be extremely helpful as you follow along, ponder, and pray.

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Contact Information

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

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