New bishop elected; outgoing bishop honored | News, Sports, Jobs


SELINSGROVE – The 35th Annual Meeting of the High Synod of Susquehanna of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove on June 17-18. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Abundance Together” using the bible verse,“And God is able to give you all blessings in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may participate abundantly in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8). The assembly elected the synod’s fourth bishop and honored its outgoing bishop with several presentations and words of affirmation from his six-year ministry. A new partnership agreement with a companion synod in Germany was also signed and the assembly adopted the 2023 budget and salary, housing and health benefit guidelines for pastors and deacons.

The Reverend Craig A. Miller, Mifflinburg, was elected to a six-year term as bishop, effective September 1.

He succeeds Bishop Barbara J. Collins, who retires August 31. Miller was elected on the fifth ballot, with 103 votes to 91 votes for Reverend Stina Schaeffer, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Selinsgrove. The bishop-elect has served as assistant to the bishop and director of evangelistic missions in the synod since 2016. He served as pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Brooklyn, NY, from 1996 to 2016. Miller earned his Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, in 1985 and his Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary) in 1996. He will be installed September 17 in Zion Lutheran Church, Sunbury.

Miller addressed synod members after his election. “I will always pray for you and always keep you in my heart. I look forward to loving you for the next six years,” said Miller.

Leaders of record with significant ordination anniversaries were also honored: Reverend Joel Zeiders (25); Reverend Viking Dietrich, Reverend Robert Doll, Reverend Karen Minnich-Sadler; Reverend Gilson Waldkoenig (30); Deacon Constance Fladland, Deacon Barbara Hoffman, Reverend Thomas Martin (35); Rev. William Esborn, Rev. Anna Ritter-Esborn (40); Reverend Ken Elkin, Reverend John Fenton, Reverend Ralph (Mike) Sigler (45); Reverend Bruce Amme (50); Reverend Ed Rehrauer (55); Reverend Hugo Schroeder, Jr. (60); Reverend Stuart Lengel (65). Recognition of congregations celebrating significant anniversaries included St. Luke Lutheran, Williamsport and Trinity Lutheran (Ridge), Northumberland (125); Salem Lutheran, Liberty (175). A new congregation was also recognized. Milton Lutheran Church was formed from the ancient Trinity Lutheran and Christ Lutheran, both in Milton. Recognition of the holy closings of two congregations took place on Saturday for the ministries of Trinity Lutheran, Shamokin, and Grace Lutheran, Sunbury.

On Friday evening, at the Synod Assembly, a barbecue was organized on the lawn of the Degenstein Campus Center. A reception with

Hors d’oeuvres with United Lutheran Seminary President Guy Erwin were held prior to this event. KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner provided acoustic music.

On Saturday July 2, deans and conference secretaries were installed. At the Saturday afternoon closing service, Reverend David Hauck and Deacon Barbara Smillie were posthumously recalled for their service at the church. Those attending the ELCA Church Assembly were blessed and sent out to do their work later this summer. A gathering offering was split between the Synod’s Fund for Leaders and Lutheran Disaster Relief for Ukraine for a total of $4,000.

Reverend James Park Bricker, Wendelin Davis and Mike Dock were elected to serve three-year terms on the synod council. Reverend Justin Lingenfelter was elected to a two-year term on the synod council. Jonathan Moser was elected to a three-year term for young adults on the Synod Council.




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