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PITTSBURGH (SZS) The Rev. Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the ELCA was elected Presiding Bishop of the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States of America on August 14, 2013. Out of 889 votes cast on the fifth ballot, she was elected with 600 votes. 445 votes were needed to declare an election. The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, current Presiding Bishop of the ELCA received 287 votes. Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton will be the first woman to hold the highest office of the Churchwide organization.

Bishop Eaton was elected by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly meeting here Aug. 12-17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. In attendance from our Synod are: Bishop Kucharek, Vice President Jerry Owen, and Rev. Linda Kraft. The churchwide assembly is the highest legislative body of the ELCA. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. The theme for the assembly is “Always Being Made New.”

“On behalf of myself and the Slovak Zion Synod, we extend to Bishop Eaton, our sister in Christ, our heartfelt congratulations and God’s blessings in her new Call as presiding bishop of the ELCA,” says Bishop Kucharek, speaking fondly of her colleague. “We are confident that, with God’s help, she will faithfully lead with wisdom and humility, using her God-given abilities and gifts in service to God and to God’s glory.”

Bishop Eaton is a native of Cleveland. She received her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. She was ordained in 1981, and served several congregations before being elected to the Office of Bishop in the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the ELCA. Bishop-elect Eaton will assume her office on November 1st.


Bishop Kucharek with Bishop Eaton


Bishop Eaton addressing the Churchwide Assembly


From right to left: Bishop Wilma Kucharek, VP Jerry Owen, Rev. Linda Kraft