Here you will find information and forms from the Allegheny Synod Transition Team on the upcoming election for Synod Bishop.
Survey Results of the Bishop Congregational Survey
Written by Casey Colledge, Chairperson of the Bishop Transition Task Force
I hope this finds you well and safe in this time of staying home and social distancing. The Bishop’s Transition Task Force and I are praying for all of you and your families in this tough time. We wanted to give you an update on the survey that was sent out in December. We have received back a number of surveys from congregational councils as well as rostered leaders about rating the Synod in overall effectiveness in these key areas.
1) Developing, facilitating, nurturing the life and mission of the church in the conferences and congregations
2) Congregational Support
3) Synod-wide visibility
4) Financial Management
The regression analysis that was conducted showed that there is a strong correlation between the overall effectiveness of the Synod and congregational support and a moderate correlation to overall effectiveness and financial management.
We also received your feedback on what the top two priorities should be for the Synod in the next 6 years. We evaluated the information and came up with the top 10 responses to that question. We have aligned them into 4 separate categories.
Evangelism & Stewardship
-Helping congregations with evangelism and stewardship
-Assist congregations in determining vitality of their ministries
-Articulate a hopeful, grace-filled vision of Christianity that will support and encourage increased participation in synod congregations
-Helping congregations discern and develop gifts for mission
-Long term planning for congregational viability
-Unifying and merging small local congregations to encourage new life and growth
-Spread the message of what God is doing in the Allegheny Synod, not just to fellow Lutherans or church goers
-Firm, clear and effective communication
-Continue supporting seminarians through programming i.e. TEEM and financial support
-Attract and retain gifted rostered leaders in the Synod & encourage recruitment of pastoral candidates
We hope this information is helpful in the discernment process leading up to the new Bishop’s election. We would ask that you continue to keep the Bishop Election process in your prayers as the Synod assembly has been pushed back due to COVID-19 so there is now more time for reflection, prayer and discernment on who we will call as our next Bishop. The Bishop Transition Task Force looks forward to being with you at the conference meetings once they have been rescheduled to discuss the election process in more detail. Until then, may God’s presence be with you, may He comfort and keep you, and may the love of our Lord Jesus Christ fill you with peace.
The Call and Voting Process at the Synod Assembly
The call of a bishop has its own process and structure. A Bishop is called through a process called ecclesiastical balloting. It is a specific process which is laid out in the constitution of the ELCA.
The election and call of the Bishop will be overseen by a representative from the senior staff of the ELCA Churchwide Offices. You may remember in 2014, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presided over our Allegheny Synod election. We will learn The ELCA will notify us in December who will be with us for the election.
The process of calling the Bishop can take up to five separate ballots. At After each ballot, if a candidate receives a certain percentage of the vote, they are elected. The threshold for ballot percentage decreases with each vote after the second vote.
The Transition Team has some flexibility as to whether they would have the candidates give short speeches or answer questions at different points in the process.
First Ballot: The work of calling the Bishop begins with the first ballot also known as the nominating ballot. This is an open ballot where all voting members of the Assembly can write in the name of a Rostered Minister in the ELCA they believe God is calling to be the next bishop. Any ELCA pastor can be nominated to serve as Bishop. If any candidate received 75% of the vote on this nominating ballot, they are elected Bishop. The counters tabulate the results of the first ballot and the list of all those receiving votes is published. If no one receives 75% we move forward.
After the results of the first ballot are revealed, those nominated have an opportunity to take their name off the ballot. If a pastor does not wish to allow their name to go forward, they must complete a form which requests their removal from the process.
Second Ballot: Those pastors who do not remove their names from consideration will appear on the second ballot and the Assembly will vote on that slate of candidates. If a candidate receives 75% of the vote on the second ballot they are elected Bishop. If no one receives 75% of the vote, then the top seven vote-getters move forward to the third ballot.
Third Ballot: Before the third ballot, our practice in the Allegheny Synod has been that those seven pastors are given an opportunity to address the Assembly. Usually, the participants draw a number to determine order of their presentation. These are short speeches of five minutes of less.
After the addresses to the Assembly, the third ballot will be taken. If a candidate receives two thirds of the votes they are elected Bishop. If there is no election the top three move on to the forth ballot.
Fourth Ballot: In 2014, before the Fourth Ballot the top three were given an opportunity to respond to questions. The candidates were given the same three questions for which to prepare. They were also asked three questions which they did not have an opportunity to prepare. Each candidate took turns responding to the question. Candidates rotated who would respond first, second, or third.
After the questions, the Fourth Ballot is taken. If a candidate receives 60% of the votes on the Fourth Ballot they are elected Bishop. If there is no election the top two move on to the Fifth Ballot.
Fifth Ballot: There is some variety in how Synods handle the Fifth Ballot. Some Synods take a time for prayer, reflection and discernment. Some invite candidates to give a longer speech to the Synod. Some Synods move straight to the balloting. How that will be handled will be prayerfully discerned by the Transition Team.
The candidate receiving the majority of the votes on the Fifth Ballot is elected Bishop.
Bishop Election Process
Click HERE for the Bishop Election Process documents.
2021 ELCA Election Toolkit for Synod Bishop Elections
Click HERE for the Bishop Election Process documents.
Bishop's Job Description
Click HERE to read a partial description of duties for our Synod Bishop.
The election of the next Bishop of the Allegheny Synod will be held at this year’s Assembly.
Who can vote? All rostered leaders of the Allegheny Synod, retired rostered leaders of the Allegheny Synod, Synod Council Members, and voting members of the Assembly will vote in the election. Voting members must be registered and present to take part in the vote. There is no absentee voting in this process.
Who is eligible for the call of Bishop? All ELCA rostered pastors in good standing can be nominated to serve as Bishop whether they be On Leave From Call, Part-time, Retired or a pastor in another Synod.
How are persons nominated? Nominations are made by the voting members on the first ballot which will be held Friday morning. Should you choose to nominate someone who is not attending the Assembly, please contact them beforehand to be certain they are open to the call of Bishop.
How do I remove my name from the balloting process? Persons nominated have the option to remove their name one time only after the first ballot. Otherwise, their name will be on the ballot through the conclusion of the election. To remove your name, text Synod Secretary David Finney at 814-525-0930.