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Seven Candidates Identified for the next Lutheran Bishop in South Carolina


COLUMBIA, SC (July 25, 2020) – Over 500 voting members of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America were gathered online to pray, discern and elect a new bishop for the South Carolina Synod. Seven candidates have been identified as nominees from a result of the second ballot for the office of bishop.

The Rev. Virginia Aebischer of  Columbia; The Rev. Ralph Hill of Chapin; The Rev. Jacqueline Utley; The Rev. David Coffman of Lexington; The Rev. Wade Roof of West Columbia; the Rev. Patti Sue Burton-Pye of Lexington; and the Rev. Eric Fink of Columbia.

The seven Pastors in the South Carolina Synod will move to a third ballot to be cast by the Synod Assembly on Saturday, July 25, 2020 . Two-thirds of the legal votes cast shall be necessary for election on third ballot.

 If there is no election on the third ballot, the three persons (plus-ties) who received the greatest number of votes on the third ballot, will move to a fourth ballot.

Biographical information of the top seven nominees can be found at

Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of the synod and a key responsibility of the Synod Assembly. The bishop serves as the synod’s pastor and is called to administer sacraments, preach, provide pastoral care, advise, ordain, advocate, interpret, and serve as the ecumenical officer.

The South Carolina Synod uses an ecclesiastical election process. More information and a schedule can be found online at

A livestream of the assembly may be viewed on our Facebook page ( and YouTube channel (

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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 nearly 3.6 million members in more than 9,200 worshipping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. 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.

About the South Carolina Synod:

The South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has nearly 52,000 members worshipping in 150 congregations across the state of South Carolina. We Lutherans in South Carolina are part of a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace — and there’s room for all here. We seek to respond to God’s love by loving him and serving the people he has created not only in the state of South Carolina, but in many parts of the globe.

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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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