Meet the Office of the Bishop staff
Bishop, Allegheny Synod
The Rev. Michael Rhyne was called as Bishop of the Allegheny Synod in June 2014. He previously served the Geeseytown/Newry Lutheran Parish, a two point parish in Newry and Hollidaysburg, PA. Bishop Rhyne was a second career pastor, having worked for 12 years in the professional theater and worked as a theater manager and instructor at Huntingdon College (Montgomery, AL) and taught at other colleges and universities in central Alabama before going to Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He holds an MDiv, an MFA in acting and theater from the University of Alabama, and did his undergraduate work at UNC-CH. Bishop Rhyne is married and is a father of three. Bishop Rhyne's hope for the Allegheny Synod is that we can all remember that Christ Jesus is alive, active, and at work in our churches.
Assistant to the Bishop
Pastor Paula is a native of Pennsylvania, having grown up in Lebanon County. She graduated from Cedar Crest High School and then attended Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA. Following graduation, Pastor Paula worked for an advertising agency and a free newspaper. After the birth of her son, Samuel, Pastor Paula began freelance graphic design work and volunteering more in her home congregation, Friedens Lutheran in Myerstown, PA. It was during that time she sensed a growing call to ministry. Pastor Paula returned to school to complete a Bachelor degree at Lebanon Valley College. Following graduation, she began attending Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, graduating in 2005. Following graduation, she accepted a position in the Office of the Presiding Bishop at the ELCA Churchwide office as an Executive Administrative Assistant. She returned to the candidacy process in 2008 and accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran in Sidman and St John Lutheran in Summerhill. She began an interim position at Bethany Lutheran Church in Altoona in 2010, was called as the full-time pastor in 2012, and served Bethany until accepting the call to serve in the Allegheny Synod office as Assistant to the Bishop in 2014.
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.
The Rev. Rebecca “Becca” Ehrlich grew up north of Albany, NY and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA. Before becoming a pastor, Pastor Becca served in children, youth, and young adult ministry positions in various locations around PA for 12 years. Previously, Pastor Becca served two congregations as pastor in Upstate NY and in Admissions at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg and Philadelphia.
Pastor Becca holds a BA in Dance and Dramatic Arts Criticism from Muhlenberg College; an MA in Theology and Ministry from LaSalle University; an MDiv from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; and is currently a doctoral candidate working toward her DMin degree in Christian Spirituality at United Lutheran Seminary.
Pastor Becca is also a writer; she primarily writes about the intersection between the minimalism movement and the Christian faith. She has written for many online publications (including Living Lutheran), and regularly writes on her blog, www.christianminimalism.com.
Pastor Becca currently serves as Interim Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop in the Allegheny Synod. She also serves on the ELCA Spiritual Renewal Team, working with congregations and synods across the country to foster passionate relationships with God. Pastor Becca is married to Will Platnick, and they enjoy exploring new places and watching lots of movies together.