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Allegheny Synod has a new start!

Dear Allegheny Synod congregations and Rostered Ministers,

I am thrilled to announce that our synod has its first new start (church plant) since 1968!

ELCA Churchwide has approved Gloria de Dios, Pine Grove Mills (outside of State College) as a Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community Exploration (SAWCX). This 6-month exploration will be geared toward the Latinx community (those of Latino/a background) in Centre County and the State College area. We received a $6,000 grant from Churchwide to support our efforts.

Pastor Paul Tomkiel and some members at St Paul, Pine Grove Mills identified the need for a Lutheran presence within the Latinx community in Centre County, and answered the call of the Holy Spirit by stepping in to help fill that need. This group has been building a core group of Latinx folks who have met a couple times for informal fellowship before the state-wide shutdown occurred. We are grateful that both the Pine Grove Mills group-- and those in the Latinx community who have already starting gathering-- listened and responded to God's guidance, and we are grateful that ELCA Churchwide has also affirmed God's guidance for this new start.

This grant is currently on hold due to the pandemic and finding a Latinx mission developer mentor who will work with Pastor Paul Tomkiel and those at St Paul, Pine Grove Mills who are working on this new start. Once the risk of the pandemic is past and we have a mentor in place, Gloria de Dios will be official. We celebrate this new ethnic-specific ministry and pray for its success in reaching out to the Latinx community!

If you would like to donate to Gloria de Dios and support this new ministry monetarily, please contact Interim DEM Pastor Becca Ehrlich at

God's peace,

Pastor Becca Ehrlich

Interim Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM)

Assistant to the Bishop

Allegheny Synod, ELCA

(814) 942-1042 ext. 22

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