Rooted in the Gospel of our Lord, the Allegheny Synod inspires, encourages, and supports the church, in response to God's call to gather around Word and Sacrament, and to scatter into the world to offer God's gifts of love, forgiveness, care, justice, and mercy.

What's New

  • 40,000 Can Challenge & Weekly Update

    Can Count Update...

    As of Tuesday, December 12, our weekly can count is 1,956.

    Your donation of non-perishable food items to the 40,000 "Can" Challenge will benefit local food banks and service agencies who serve the people in your community.

    To participate, record how many non-perishable items are collected and call (814-842-1042) or email ( the Synod office.

    Results will be publicized through the Allegheny Synod 8C Facebook page, the Lutheran Letter, and weekly email updates to congregations.

    Please click here for the 40,000 Can Challenge bulletin insert.

  • Kenya November 2017 Newsletter

    Please click here to view the Kenya November 2017 newsletter.

  • Bishop Rhyne's Advent Greeting

    Please click here for Bishop Rhyne's Advent Greeting.

  • Synod Congregational Weekly Prayer List

     Please click here for the Synod's Congregational Weekly Prayer list.

  • 2018 Compensation and Benefits

    Please click here for the 2018 Compensation and Benefits material.

  • A Message from Bishop Michael regarding Las Vegas

    Dear Friends,

    We have had another shooting in our country, now we weep with and for the people of Las Vegas. This is the most-deadly mass shooting in our history with over 50 killed and 400 injured. This appears to have been carried out by someone with no exterior motive other than their own hatred, anger, and desire to strike out at the innocent. We lift the victims and their family to God and pray that our Lord will comfort those who mourn.

    Below I have attached a copy of the letter which the ELCA Conference of Bishops released in 2013 in the aftermath of the murders at Sandy Hook. The sentiments expressed by the Bishops at that time are still fitting today.

    In the wake of these murders, let us all lift to God those who are suffering the loss of friends and loved ones.

    May God be with you and hold all in the peace of Christ.

    +Bp Michael


    A Pastoral Letter from the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 

    A Pastoral Letter on Violence adopted by the ELCA Conference of Bishops, 

    March 4, 2013 

    “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

    Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18 (NIV) 

    Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

    Every faithful caregiver who sits with victims of violence knows what we know – as God's church, we are called to reduce violence and should, in most cases, restrain ourselves from using violence. Whether or not statistics show that overall violence has declined in recent years, every person wounded or killed is a precious child of God.

    As bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we lament the tragedy of gun violence in our country. We are grieved by the way violence threatens and destroys life. We affirm the current soul searching and shared striving to find a way to a better future.

    While the church grapples with this call to reduce violence and make our communities safer, we recognize that before God we are neither more righteous because we have guns nor are we more righteous when we favor significant restrictions. Brokenness and sin are not somehow outside of us. Even the best of us are capable of great evil. As people of God we begin by confessing our own brokenness – revealed in both our actions and our failure to act. We trust that God will set us free and renew us in our life's work to love our neighbors.

    In this time of public attention to gun violence, local communities of faith have a unique opportunity to engage this work. As bishops, we were thankful to recognize the many resources our church has already developed (see below). We begin by listening: listening to God, to Scripture, and to each other. Providing a safe place for people to share their own stories, together we discern courses of action. Together we act. And together we return to listening – to assess the effectiveness of our efforts to reduce violence.

    In the Large Catechism Luther says, “We must not kill, either by hand, heart, or word, by signs or gestures, or by aiding and abetting.” Violence begins in the human heart. Words can harm or heal. To focus only on guns is to miss the depth of our vocation. Yet, guns and access are keys to the challenges we face.

    We recognize that we serve in different contexts and have different perspectives regarding what can and should be done. But as we live out our common vocations, knowing that the work will take many forms, we are committed to the work of reducing and restraining violence. This shared work is a sign of our unity in Christ.

    We invite you, our sisters and brothers, to join us in this work:

    The work of lament – creating safe space for naming, praying, grieving, caring for one another, and sharing the hope in God’s promise of faithfulness

    The work of moral formation and discernment – listening to scripture, repenting, modeling conflict resolution in daily life, addressing bullying, conducting respectful conversations, and discerning constructive strategies to reduce violence

    The work of advocacy – acting to address the causes and effects of violence Knowing that we are not saved by this work, we undertake it trusting in Christ Jesus, who laid down his life for the world and who calls us to be peacemakers, to pursue justice, and to protect the vulnerable.

    In this, as in all things, Christ is with us.

    Thanks be to God.

  • Blanket Sunday-LWR Collection Information

    Please click here for Blanket Sunday-LWR Collection information.

  • A Greeting and Thank You from Bishop Michael

    To the Saints of the Allegheny Synod,

    May God’s grace and the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Thank you for your partnership in our ministry together as the Allegheny Synod. It is a blessing of God and truly amazing the way in which you reach out to the world, responding to needs both in our community and in our world and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors. All that we do and can do happens because Jesus Christ is alive is here with us in the heart of Pennsylvania.

    The success our Allegheny Synod Can Challenge has had over the past three years testifies to the ways in which the Holy Spirit is working through you to care for your neighbor. The Allegheny Synod leads the nation in contributions to the Lutheran World Relief Blanket Sunday offerings each year. You continually respond to calls from Lutheran Disaster Response after earthquakes in Haiti and Mexico, flooding in West Virginia and South Carolina, and most recently in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. You feed and clothe your communities by supporting your local food and clothing pantries, and some of you are the food and clothing pantries for your communities. Where there is a need, you respond and you help. Thank you for listening to God’s call to care for people who are vulnerable and hurting. We thank God that we are invited to be part of our Lord’s healing work in this world.

    I thank God for our leaders. We are blessed in our Synod with deacons and pastors who are among the best in the ELCA. Our leaders love Jesus Christ and they love you. God has gifted us richly with quality rostered ministers and the gifts they bring to care for God’s people here in the heart of Pennsylvania. We are truly blessed. To our deacons and pastors, thank you for your service to Christ and the gospel.

    We also are blessed by God to have a dedicated team of lay worship leaders in our Synod. These are the people who participate in the Ignite Program (formerly DYD program) to be trained in the basics of leading worship and the life of the church. They undergo what can be a two-year program of study to be able to lead worship in those congregations that don’t currently have, or possibly are not able to call, a pastor. Our lay worship leaders are a blessing to us. If you know anyone who is in or has been in this program, please thank them for their service to our church and our Synod.

    We thank God for the way the Holy Spirit is raising up people to consider seminary and life in ministry. As of this writing, we have 16 people from the Allegheny Synod in our candidacy process. In 2014 we had two people in the process. God has blessed us. That has happened because you, the Allegheny Synod, have prayed for, encouraged, and supported these people in your congregations as they have started this journey. Please continue to pray that God will raise up leaders for our church.

    Finally, I want to thank the staff of your Synod Office. Our staff works very hard to work with you and support you in your ministry. They are selfless in their love of our Synod and their love for you. Thank you Michelle, Marty Jo, Pastor Paula, and Pastor Tim for your service.

    It is a blessing to serve in the Allegheny Synod. As we begin this fourth year together, please know that you are always in my prayers. I pray that God will continue to bless and lead our Synod. Christ is with us. Christ is alive here in the heart of Pennsylvania. May we continue to be led and opened to where our Lord Jesus is leading us.

     In Christ,

    Bp Michael Rhyne

    To see this message as a bulletin insert, please click here.

    Reformation Anniversary

    Please remember that we have a number of Synod events coming up as we mark the 500th Anniversary of start of the Reformation. We hope you can join us as we praise our Lord and celebrate what the Spirit continues to do in this world.

    Saturday, October 14 Reformation Festival
    American Legion Park, Hollidaysburg
    Festival starts at 2pm, Outdoor Worship Service starts at 6:30pm

    Sunday, October 29 500th Anniversary Service
    First Lutheran, Altoona
    Prelude will begin at 2:50pm, Worship Service begins at 3pm

    Tuesday, October 31 Reformation Day Prayer Services 
    Service of prayer on Reformation Day sponsored by churches across our Synod

    Wednesday, November 1 All Saints Service: “First Day of the next 500”
    Zion Lutheran, Johnstown
    Service begins at 7pm

  • Year of Prayer

    Please click here for the October Year of Prayer bulletin insert.

  • Hurricane Harvey and How you Can Help

    Please click here for information on how you can help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

  • Reformation 500

    You are invited to help us commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation at these upcoming worship services:

    Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church, Altoona.
    Renew, Rejoice, Revive: A Lutheran Revival Service with guest preacher, The Rev. Jackie Utley.

    Saturday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Legion Park, Hollidaysburg.

    An outdoor, candlelight service that culminates the Reformation Festival being held that day.

    Bishop Rhyne will preach and special music will be provided. Please click here for a bulletin insert regarding the festival.


    Sunday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, Altoona. 

    A synod-wide Reformation service celebrating our unity in Christ. 

    All are welcome.


    Tuesday, October 31

    A Reformation Prayer Liturgy that can be celebrated with our ecumenical partners in our communities. The liturgy will be distributed soon so that you can plan and prepare in your conference.


    Wednesday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Johnstown

    “The First Day of the Next 500”

    Celebrate All Saints Day together with your brothers and sisters across this Synod as we move forward into the next 500 years. A reception will follow worship.


  • IGNITE (Formerly Discerning Your Discipleship) Course Information and Registration

    Click here for the new IGNITE course catalogue and here for the registration form.

  • Karibu VBS Program

    Please click here for information regarding the Allegheny Synod Karibu VBS program.

  • NEW 2017 IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rate

    IR-2016-169, Dec.13, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

    Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

    53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016

    17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016

    14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

    The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

    The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

  • Tithing & Giving

    Please click here for a brochure from the Allegheny Synod's Stewardship and Mission Interpretation Team regarding Tithing and Giving.

  • 3D Faith Practices Bible Study

    To view the 3D Faith Practices Bible Study, please click on the Resources tab above and then click on Allegheny Synod 3D.  You will then find the Bible Studies posted below.

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To hear Bishop Michael Rhyne's sermons click here.


Welcome to the online home of the Allegheny Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in   America. We are an expression of the Church of Jesus Christ that combines the resources of 116 congregations, and our partners in ministry in the mountains and valleys of the Allegheny region of Southwest-Central Pennsylvania.

We are a people called by God through Jesus Christ to share in ministry independently and interdependently. Here in this web site you will have an opportunity to discover more about our partner ministries that seek to live out God's Great Commission.... (Matthew 28:18-20) to make the hope-filled promises of Jesus Christ known throughout the world.

I invite you to explore the pages of this web site and to get to know more about your Lutheran neighbors in the Allegheny region. Please know that each of our congregations invite you to worship with them. We believe that it is there that we encounter the God who has not only given us the gift of earthly life, but who also promises us life eternal.

-Bishop Michael L. Rhyne

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Allegheny Synod, ELCA

701 Quail Ave.
Altoona, PA 16602

Phone: 814.942.1042
Fax: 814.941.9259

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM