Meet the Office of the Bishop staff
Bishop Paula J. Schmitt is the fourth bishop of the Allegheny Synod, elected to serve a six-year term which began September 1, 2021. Bishop Paula grew up in Lebanon County and is the youngest child of Michael and Brenda Lebo. She was a graphic design major at Pennsylvania School of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA and later earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. She graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 2005 and was ordained on July 27, 2008. She served her first call at Trinity Lutheran in Sidman and St. John Lutheran in Summerhill, both in the Johnstown Conference of the Allegheny Synod. In 2010 she was called to serve as interim pastor at Bethany Lutheran in Altoona and in 2012 was called as the full-time pastor there. She served as assistant to the bishop from 2014-2020. In August 2020 Bishop Paula accepted a call to serve as intentional interim at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latrobe in the Southwestern PA Synod. In June 2021, the Allegheny Synod called her to serve as bishop.
Bishop Paula has one son, Samuel, who is grown and married and lives in New York. Bishop Paula is an avid reader, continues to create art and enjoys trying new recipes.
Assistant to the Bishop
The Rev. Kevin T. Shock began serving as the Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Allegheny Synod on March 1, 2022, and transitioned to full-time Assistant to the Bishop on November 13, 2023. Pastor Kevin has deep roots in West-Central PA and in the ELCA. He grew up in Westmoreland County and Altoona, attended Juniata College in Huntingdon, and was called back to the Allegheny Synod after seminary. Some of his earliest memories include reading parts of the liturgy in the then-newly introduced Lutheran Book of Worship while the people of Trinity, Latrobe sang and spoke the words. The people of Zion, Hollidaysburg guided him through confirmation classes, his first job after college, and the candidacy process. For 15+ years the people of St. Mark, Pleasant Gap shaped him as a pastor while he served them in his first call.
Despite his strong identity as a central Pennsylvanian Lutheran, Pastor Kevin feels at home in situations that stretch his comfort and understanding. He has lived or traveled on four continents and has worshiped alongside people of various faith traditions. Pastor Kevin believes we learn more about ourselves and about God in learning the stories and experiences of others.
Pastor Kevin and his spouse, Lisa Bahr, live in Howard with two dogs (more dogs always pending). Thanks to Lisa, his other passion is animal rescue. He finds renewal in the quiet of praying, hiking, bicycling, and kayaking.
Michelle is an Altoona native graduating in 1989 from Altoona Area High School with an emphasis in business. Prior to coming to the Synod office in 2001, she worked as an insurance agent and in banking. As Synod Office Manager, she has a wide range of responsibilities including financial data entry, website maintenance, database management, calendar administration, congregational, rostered leaders and financial records management, office communications, and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the Synod office. She is married and has two children.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Sue Ellen Spotts is serving as the Director of Evangelical Mission for the Allegheny and Upper Susquehanna Synods
Sister Marianne Brock is our Regional ELCA Gift Planner, supported by the synod. Most recently she served a dual role as the Associate Executive Director of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central PA and Director of Camp Nawakwa in Arendtsville, PA. Prior to that time she served in congregational settings in youth, children, and family ministries. Sister Marianne is a rostered deacon in the ELCA and a member of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA, thus the title, “Sister.” She is a 2013 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and her undergraduate work was completed at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. Marianne has interests in PA Lutheran history, travel in the Holy Land, and collecting the stories of the people she encounters. She enjoys running and bicycling, dabbles in cooking and bread baking, and loves the opportunity to visit a winery or brewery. Marianne and her husband, The Rev. John Brock, reside in Mechanicsburg, PA. They have two adult sons, and two tremendous dogs. Sister Marianne grew up in New Berlin and at First, Mifflinburg.
Many congregations use Portico Benefit Services for their benefit needs of the congregation. Our Regional Representative is Pastor Tara Lynn. While the Portico Customer Care Center (800.352.2628) remains the primary point of contact for benefit questions and processes, Portico’s Regional Reps provide education, encouragement, and a personal connection.
To view Portico Benefit Services’ website, click here: https://www.porticobenefits.org/